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Extracellular Matrix Mimicry for Transformative Craniofacial Therapies

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Thursday, January 23, 2020, 3 pm

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Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar

The Department of Biomedical Engineering presents

Tugba Ozdemir, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: The craniofacial region consists of several different tissues, including skin, musculoskeletal tissues, salivary glands, teeth and supporting structures such as blood vessels and nerves. Injury to or congenital defect in any of these tissues can lead not only to severe functional impairment, but also aesthetic challenges. Over the last century, synthetic polymers have served as the mainstay of craniofacial therapies enabling tailored, affordable and biocompatible materials. However, despite their robust mechanical and chemical properties, synthetic polymers inherently lack bioactive information and adaptability provided by natural polymers such as proteins and glycosaminoglycans of the extracellular matrix. Through synthesizing tunable material architectures, implementing protein engineering and peptidomimetics and enabling high-throughput approaches, bioactive hybrid materials can be crafted. These new class of extracellular matrix mimics have the potential to control cell faith, three-dimensional cellular organization and tissue regeneration. In this talk, I will describe how synthetic polymers, glycosaminoglycans and proteins have been utilized to build biomaterials successfully implemented in bone mechanotransduction, salivary gland regeneration and wound healing. These studies provide the foundation and set forth promising strategies towards future craniofacial therapies.

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