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.
Tympanic membrane (or eardrum) is provided by nature with unique anatomic features that ultimately allow a superb physiologic performance in varying frequency ranges. Several pathologies damage this tissue, including chronic otitis media (COM), which ultimately bring to deafness.
3D printing makes it possible to create complex personalized products such as prostheses and implants directly from a 3D scan. To make this type of application possible, it is important that available materials have the correct mechanical and biochemical properties. In the TA program DYNAM, which is funded from the Innovation Fund for Chemistry, researchers and companies will tackle this challenge
Damaged and diseased bones in the region of head, face and jaws are common, and are conventionally treated using metallic or polymeric implants, which poorly bond to the surrounding bone. As a result, failure of such implants is common.
Prof. Moroni was interviewed by Future Tech Podcast on Biofabrication and its promise for regenerative medicine and pharmaceutical applications as 3D in vitro models.
The major aim of our lab is to develop innovative biofarication 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!