Research is aimed at biomaterial enhanced regeneration. This includes basic research to enhance wound healing (studies of oxygen, electric and magnetic fields, growth factors, etc.) and to enhance the scaffolding of the biomaterial (studies changing the implant configuration, the implant surface, the implant bioactivity, the implant degradation rate, the implant drug delivery rate, etc.).
This research is conducted using cell culture and animal studies aimed at tissue regeneration for the following clinical applications: pressure ulcers, burns, blood vessels, nerves, bone, microvascular anastomosis, and catheter design. Currently clinical studies are being done using a fibrin/FGF-1 system to enhance burn and pressure ulcer healing.
Most of the research relates to restorative/repair phenomenon; specifically how biomaterials can be used to help in the restorative repair process--through scaffolding and drug delivery. Although currently the main interest is in degradable regenerative systems; in many cases you have to start with a system that is not degradable or regenerative and research ways to make it that way. Most of this work has dealt with degradable biomaterials made of extracellular matrix proteins (collagen and fibrin) with incorporated biological response modifiers (growth factors such as FGF typically).
Another important aspect is assessment of healing using non-invasive techniques. This would be the state of the tissue (vascular and oxygen supply), the most likely prognosis based on this state, and the rate of healing. Currently, clinical tissue state for burn and pressure ulcer patients is assessed by measuring a healing rate, a tissue health (blood flow), and a tissue function (stiffness).
Specific areas with the main investigators and graduate students involved: