Globally, the number of patients with chronicand degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and macular degeneration is rapidly increasing due to aging. General medical treatments are normally limited to slow the disease progression or relieve pain, however, it is difficult to restore the original function of damaged organs and tissues.
Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine conducts research to replace damaged organs through the interdisciplinary approaches of engineering, natural science, and medicine. In addition, three-dimensional tissue culture in vitro to study the mechanism of disease or to evaluate the safety and efficacy of drugs is also being actively performed in the field. In tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, advanced technologies for biomaterials present exciting opportunities for improved treatment of a range of diseases including traumatic injuries and degenerative pathological conditions.
Bio-functional Materials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory (BMTL) has been aspired to establish an internationally recognized research program in development of bio-functional materials and their use in tissue engineering to address grand needs in the field. Three research thrusts in our laboratory includes, in particular, (1) Musculoskeletal tissue engineering, (2) Bio-inspired material engineering, and (3) Stem cell therapy and engineering 3D tissue
Musculoskeletal organs include bone, cartilage, tendon, and muscle, and the regenerative therapy of bone and cartilage tissue injuries due to osteoporosis or osteoarthritis is now required. We are developing biomaterials that can increase the efficiency of stem cell transplantation and the delivery of bioactive molecules for bone and cartilage tissue regeneration.
The surface modification technology is actively investigated in order to efficiently control the surface properties of biomaterials such as hydrophilicity and bioactivity. To this end, we are conducting research on surface coating methods for biomaterials based on mussel-inspired adhesive properties, and surface modification through supramolecular assembly of natural polyphenols. In addition, we are developing multi-functional nanoparticle with ROS scavenging and anti-inflammation functions for wound healing and tissue regeneration through similar chemical processes.
Stem cells are widely used as a cell source for cell therapy and three-dimensional tissue formation due to their directed differentiation and high proliferation capacity. In our laboratory, we are developing biomaterials that can be used as a 3D spheroids harvest and delivery platform using stem cells. In addition, we are developing a technology for in vitro culture of complex 3D musculoskeletal tissues with vascularized structure by spatial assembly of functionalized spheroids for tissue regeneration and in vitro assay.