The research interests of our research group are based on the development of innovative nanocomposite based biomaterials and scaffolds for soft and hard tissue engineering. According to the magnificent challenges of engineering, our research aims have been focused on:
(a) the development of novel micro- and nano-structure biomaterials,
(b) integrating advanced micro- and nanofabrication technologies in order to mimic the native architecture and characteristics, as well as
(c) in vitro and in vivo assessment of engineered constructs.
Based on these research aims, our objective research can be classified as:
1. Polymer and hydrogel-based Nanocomposite scaffolds:
Polymers and hydrogels mimicking the native tissue microenvironment have been emerged as brilliant candidates to develop three-dimensional scaffolds for hard and soft tissue engineering. One of the most important aims of our research is the development of innovative and responsive nanocomposite polymers and hydrogels with an emphasis on biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. In particular, we are looking forward to fabricating elastic and electrically conductive hydrogel-based scaffolds for cardiac and nerve tissue engineering in order to mimic the native ECM. Additionally, in order to develop scaffolds for hard tissue engineering, we focus on the fabrication of novel mechanically stiff composite scaffolds with ability to regulate and direct various cellular functions, integrate with native tissue and stimulate new bone formation. These multiple functionalities could be provided using sustained release of hydrophobic/hydrophilic drugs from scaffolds as well as reinforcing polymeric scaffolds using innovative bioactive ceramics.
In order to access these approaches, we apply various kinds of microfabrication technologies such as electrospinning, photolithography, soft lithography, and rapid prototyping techniques.
2. Metallic based scaffolds:
Recently, various metallic based scaffolds have been developed as microvascular stent as well as orthopedic applications. Despite significant advances, current metallic scaffolds have some disadvantages consisting of:
- Possible release of toxic metallic ions and/or particles through corrosion or wear possible leading to inflammatory cascades and allergic reactions.
- Improper mechanical properties( e.g. low toughness for stent application and high stiffness for orthopedic applications).
- Lack of biological reception on the metallic scaffolds.
We aim to use the advantages of metals, ceramics, and polymers to develop novel metallic scaffolds to overcome these issues.
3. Injectable Biomaterials:
Although cell injection into the various tissues such as infarcted myocardium indicated significant functional improvements, due to the massive death and washout of the injected cells (~90%), the efficacy of this approach in clinical sites is hampered. We are looking forward to developing novel injectable hydrogels to promote survival and localization of the cells injected into the damaged tissue. The hydrogels strengthen using the development of interpenetrating network polymer and are functionalized with specific peptides to promote the cell functionalities.