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.
In our recent review published in the January issue of Advanced Healthcare Materials, we have reported on recent advances in the biofabrication field to regenerate peripheral nerves.
The Personalised Health Care Initiative is a large-scale scientific and technological proposal that will address the grand challenge of developing regenerative, precision and personalised medicine to improve the quality of life of billions of patients worldwide.
Direct Writing Electrospinning allows the deposition of bundles of fibers in a predetermined pattern, thus mimicking more closely the structural architecture of our native extracellular matrix.
Mimicking the complexity of our own extracellular matrix with synthetic materials remains an open quest. In this comprehensive review, we have attempted to highlight the most exciting developments in the material science field aiming at getting closer to the dynamic behaviour of biological materials.
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!