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Tissue Engineering

Biocompatibility of Novel Materials

In vitro cell cultures are vital tools for investigating the potential safety and efficacy of new materials before moving on to animal or clinical studies. Relevant mammalian cell lines are exposed directly or indirectly to material samples and their response is measured using quantitative and qualitative cell viability assays.

 Biocompatibility of Novel Materials

Isolation and Propagation of Primary Cell Lines

The development of new cell lines opens up possibilities for new tissue engineering applications. These cell lines may be able to produce new tissues or proteins that cannot currently be grown in the lab. Cells are harvested from live tissues using enzymes and propagated in tissue culture flasks for as long as possible.

 Epithelial Cells

Beetle Primary Epithelial Cells, Day 32


Ligament Tissue Engineering

Damages to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are one of the most common sports related injuries. Tissue engineering provides a promising alternative solution to the current surgical ACL reconstruction technique. This project focuses on development of biomimetic bioactive electrospun fibrous scaffolds to enhance the ligament cell or stem cell behaviour towards regeneration of ACL.

  • Scanning electron microscopy image of braided polycaprolactone (PCL) fibrous scaffolds; (b) Porosimetry test showed consistent pore size distribution; (c) Comparable mechanical properties of braided scaffolds compared to native ACL; (d) design of a bioactive scaffold with controlled release of SDF-1 to recruit MSCs for ligament regeneration in vivo.

 Ligament Tissue Engineering

Cartilage Tissue Engineering

Current treatment options to articular cartilage damage are limited in fully restoring the structure and function of this tissue. The goal of this project is to induce the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into chondrocytes by constructing a bioreactor to apply cyclic hydrostatic pressure on MSCs seeded on collagen scaffolds.

 Cartilage Tissue Engineering


Vascularization using Decellularized Spinach Leaves

Vascularization remains a challenge for creating clinically relevant tissue engineered products. Decellularized spinach leaves provide a potentially cheap source of vasculature for large scale grafts. The goal of this project is to optimize a decellularization process for spinach leaves and assess the vascularization efficiency.

 Vascularization using Decellularized Spinach Leaves

(1) Fresh spinach; (2) Spinach after five days of SDS perfusion, (3) Spinach after partial bleach treatment with blue dye perfused


LTU Faculty and Facilities

 Michael G. Lancina III, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Active research projects include in vitro production of natural biopolymers, primarily chitin. Past research experience includes developing targeted or active drug delivery vehicles from both natural and synthetic polymers, as well as investigating the biocompatibility of numerous novel materials.

 Yawen Li, PhD

Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Active research projects include biocompatibility evaluation of nanocarbon materials and hot spring mineral water, ligament tissue engineering and bioprinting, and microfluidic biosensors. Past research experience includes drug delivery microchips, liver tissue engineering, tendon and cardiac tissue engineering.

John Peponis

Project Engineer/Senior Lecturer, Biomedical Engineering

Active research projects include decellularized spinach leaves and bioprinting.

Therese Bou-Akl, PhD

Orthopedic research manager, Ascension Providence Hospital.

Dr. Bou-Akl has been leading various research projects to investigate the in vitro and in vivo performance of a number of novel biomaterials and biomaterial/cell constructs in orthopedic applications. Her past research experience includes liver tissue engineering, heart valve tissue engineering, and bone tissue engineering.

 Tissue Engineering Laboratory

Located in the new Taubman Complex, the equipment includes 6 biosafety level II laminar flow hoods, two Thermo HERAcell Vios 160i CO2 incubators, a _ plate reader, a Nikon Eclipse TS100 inverted optical microscope, and an AmScope EXI-310 inverted fluorescent microscope.

The two rooms that make up the tissue engineering laboratory are shared spaces with the Natural Sciences Department.