288662 Invited Talk: Plant-Derived and Inspired Nanostructured Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

Monday, October 29, 2012: 3:40 PM
311 (Convention Center )
Mingjun Zhang, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, TN

Much research has focused on the development of scalable scaffolds that are highly compatible with tissue engineering applications. The goal of this research is to demonstrate and propose a naturally occurring nano-scaffold from the adhesive of the Sundew, and bio-inspired scaffold coating using naturally occurring nanoparticles isolated from ivy adhesive, for applications in tissue engineering.

First, we will show how we evaluate and propose the naturally occurring nano-structured scaffold, from Sundew (Drosera) adhesive, for tissue engineering applications. It is well-known that the Sundew uses a highly elastic adhesive for insect capturing. We recently discovered that this adhesive forms a nanoparticle and nanofiber-based highly elastic and porous scaffolds when deposited on a surface.  Through experimental studies using atomic force microscopy, we were able to visualize the complex network of nanofibers, identify uniform nanoparticles, and determine cursory material properties from the scaffold. Further experimental studies indicated that the scaffold was capable of supporting cell growth, and showed that PC12 cells as well as ostebolasts strongly adhered to the scaffold.  We have determined the complete physical properties, biocompatibility, and biostability of the Sundew adhesive derived scaffold and are attempting to modify the nano-scaffold for potential tissue engineering applications.

Our group recently discovered that uniform nanoparticles, in high abundance were secreted from aerial rootlets of ivy for surface affixing. These nanoparticles were found to contribute to the adhesive strength of the adhesive discs, through the formation of a concrete-like matrix. Similar studies by other groups have also revealed the presence of nanoparticles in barnacle and marine mussel adhesives.  More recently, we have further characterized the nature of ivy nanoparticles – size, shape and chemical composition. We have developed a highly robust and cost-effective approach for nanoparticle isolation and purification. This talk will discuss how the ivy nanoparticles have been used for scaffold coating in tissue engineering applications. 

Through the above case studies, we hope to demonstrate an alternative approach for developing nanostructured scaffolds for tissue engineering. The bio-inspired or nature-derived approach seems offer unique merit for biomedical applications.

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