Exploiting The Bifunctional Properties Of Zinc Oxide As A Smart Biomimetic Material

  • Arinzeh, Treena (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Nontechnical: This award by the Biomaterials program in the Division of Materials Research to the New Jersey Institute of Technology is to investigate a smart material for tissue engineering applications. This award is co-funded by BioMaPS funds in the Division of Materials Research, and the Biomedical Engineering program in the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems. Zinc oxide, which has electromechanical properties and is a growth factor mimetic, will be fabricated into a mechanically flexible, polymer composite scaffold to promote stem cell differentiation and tissue growth for cartilage rEnvironmental Protection Agencyir. Osteoarthritis is a debilitating, degenerative joint disease where cartilage and the underlying bone tissue becomes damaged and can worsen with time. No technology exists that can restore fully functional cartilage tissue. Zinc oxide scaffolds will be fabricated and fully characterized for their bifunctional properties. Mesenchymal stem cell differentiation into cartilage and bone cells will be evaluated on the scaffolds in vitro. The proposed work would have a significant impact on the fields of smart materials for possible tissue regeneration and rEnvironmental Protection Agencyir. The research efforts here also will be disseminated in teaching, training, and education. The principal investigator's laboratory is actively involved in the training, mentoring and recruitment of underrepresented minority and female students starting at the junior high school level through various community and university programs, and these activities are enhanced and strengthened with this award. Technical: This project will investigate a bifunctional smart material for tissue engineering strategies. Zinc oxide (ZnO), which is piezoelectric and a growth factor mimetic, will be utilized, for the first time, for its functional properties in tissue engineering applications. ZnO will be used in composite form with polycaprolactone (PCL) as a scaffold to promote stem cell differentiation. Two specific aims will be addressed. Aim 1 of this award is to fabricate and fully characterize the piezoelectric properties of ZnO-polymer composite scaffolds. Nanoparticles of ZnO will be combined with PCL, a slow-degrading biomaterial, to form composite fibrous scaffolds, and controlled release/dissolution of zinc oxide will be determined. Composites will also be characterized for electrical output in conditions that more closely mimic a biological setting. The piezoelectric scaffolds will then be characterized for localized nanoscale electromechanical behavior as well as bulk properties in order to correlate biological response with electromechanical activity. The second aim of this award is to investigate the osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells on the ZnO-PCL composite scaffold in vitro. This study is based on the hypothesis that the use of a fibrous scaffold having similar physicochemical properties as the native extracellular matrix will stimulate the differentiation of msenchymal stem cells. Therefore, in addition to developing a novel combination therapy for the rEnvironmental Protection Agencyir of cartilage defects, this study will enhance the scientific understanding of the role of piezoelectric or electromechanical effects on cell differentiation, and potential applications in cartilage rEnvironmental Protection Agencyir and regeneration. With respect to teaching, training and outreach activities, the researchers will recruit and mentor underrepresented minorities and women in the research activities supported by this award.
Effective start/end date9/15/168/31/19


  • National Science Foundation


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