The Moroni lab develops new biofabrication technologies to generate libraries of 3D scaffolds able to control cell fate. This passes through the design of biomaterials, 3D scaffolds, and surface properties to better understand cell-material interactions.
Current tissue engineering and regenerative medicine products suffer from high costs and laborious techniques that complicate scaling-up production. First generation products consisted of cells in suspension, encapsulated in hydrogels, or seeded into 3D porous matrices. These products demonstrated the potential of regenerative medicine therapies by reducing pain and restoring tissue continuity. Yet, the regenerated tissue is not always as functional as the original one. This leads to degeneration few years after surgery and consequently to the need of another surgery. Causes are different. Cells need to be expanded before achieving a sufficient number for implantation. Cell expansion is typically performed on 2D surfaces, while in the body cell proliferation and homeostasis happens in a 3D environment. This is associated with a loss of the original cell phenotype. Consequently, the expanded cells produce a different extracellular matrix (ECM), ultimately resulting in a tissue formation that is different than the targeted tissue to regenerate. Furthermore, surgical procedures with these products typically consist of two steps, namely isolation and expansion of cells from a tissue biopsy and cell seeding on scaffolds prior to implantation. This is associated with long hospital stay and rehabilitation time, increasing healthcare costs as well.
Our overarching goal is to create new solutions for regenerative medicine and understand the fundamental phenomena at the base of the observed regenerative processes.
As our tissues and organs change dynamically in time in response to stimuli from the surounding environment in our body, biomaterials used to create scaffolds for the regeneration of such tissues and organs should mimic this dynamicity.
On October 6th, Lorenzo delivered his inaugural lecture as he became at the beginning of 2016 professor in Biofabrication for Regenertive Medicine at Maastricht University.
This year a new research program on biofabrication has started as a consequence of a strong partnership between the biofabrication group at the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine of Maastricht University and the Brightlands Materials Center.
Our lab has been featured on 3ders.org, which is a very active online reader digest platform covering several 3D printing news around the world. The article nicely describes our aims and goals in the field of biofabrication for regenerative medicine.
The major aim of our lab is to develop innovative biofabrication approaches for regenerative medicine as well as training next generation's talented students and postdocs.
One of the most direct ways of contributing to these causes is by donating towards a research aim or sponsoring any of our group members directly. Please contact Professor Moroni about donations towards research for fighting diseases such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular, and neural degeneration.
We are greatful to our generous sponsors!