The field of tissue engineering focuses on combining biomaterials, cells, and signals to generate three-dimensional tissue equivalents that replace damaged or diseased tissues. Biomaterials provide a three-dimensional scaffold to facilitate new tissue deposition, and encompass natural and synthetic polymers, ceramics, degradable metals, and decellularized extracellular matrix (ECM). Cell source is a key determinant of outcomes, and the field currently focuses on stem cells since these cells have several functionalities including differentiating and depositing new tissue or modulating immune response. Another advantage of stem cells is that many types can be isolated from autologous sources. Signals are both chemical and physical, which often work in concert. Chemical signals include growth factors, ions, peptides, RNA, and many other molecules. Physical cues comprise surface topology and mechanical stimulation. Our work in tissue engineering focuses on growing craniofacial structures that will provide a personalized regenerative therapy to restore function and aesthetic to patients suffering from multiple types of disease or trauma.
At the CCR, a number of faculty focus on tissue engineering. They include:
Dr. Alejandro Almarza Temporomandibular joint tissues (the disc and condyle); fibrocartilage and a bone, cartilage, fibrous tissue interface; stem cells; decellularized extracellular matrix (ECM); natural and synthetic polymers; mechanical stimulation
Dr. Charles Sfeir Bone and dentin tissue engineering utilizing biomaterials and cellular strategies to regenerate mineralized tissues
Dr. Fatima Syed-Picard Scaffold-free tissue engineering, stem cells, organoid culture, tissue patterning, dentin-pulp complex, bone-periosteum, periodontium, regeneration of tissue including bone, dentin-pulp complex and nerve for therapeutic use
Dr. Juan Taboas Skeletal tissue regeneration; stem cell mechanobiology, tissue engineering scaffolds; microfluidics devices; real-time live cell microscopy-based functional bioassay