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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/E050611/1
Title: Identification and Optimisation of Atomic Scale Influences on Cell Response to Novel Bioactive Glass and Nanocomposite Tissue Scaffolds
Principal Investigator: Newport, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Physical Sciences
Organisation: University of Kent
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2007 Ends: 30 September 2010 Value (£): 266,352
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Tissue Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
EP/E057098/1 EP/E051669/1
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The aim of the proposed project is to develop new scaffold materials as osteogenic templates for bone regeneration that could play a key role in revolutionising healthcare in this area. The project is at the interface of Materials Science, Physics and Biology. Novel nanocomposites (calcium silicate/ polymer) will be developed that mimic the structure of bone both at the nanoscale, where bone is a nanoscale composite of collagen (polymer) and bone mineral (ceramic), and at the macroscale, where cancellous bone has a network of macropores. Through this project, the influence of changes in nano and atomic scale structure on bone cell response of these new materials and bioactive glass (calcium silicate) scaffolds will be investigated for the first time. The scaffolds will be optimised from atomic to the macro scale for bone growth.The scaffolds will be based on bioactive sol-gel derived glasses that bond to bone and dissolve in the body, releasing ionic products that stimulate new bone growth. The nanocomposites are expected to do the same although little is known about how the nanostructure of the either material affects cell response. This proposal seeks to rectify this by:1) Using cutting-edge characterisation techniques, such as NMR. synchrotron source X-ray diffraction (XRD) and neutron diffraction (ND), to investigate how processing variables (e.g. final processing temperature and polymer content) affect the scaffold nanostructure and mechanical properties. Not only will well developed aspects of these techniques be employed, but new avenues will be explored to include 17O and 43Ca MAS NMR (the latter of which is little studied), in situ XRD to examine the structural developments of the amorphous structure in real time and precise isotope ND difference experiments.2) Investigating the effect of nanoscale structural changes on degradation and bioactivity, and 3) quantifying how changing the nanostructure of the scaffolds affects in vitro bone growth. Mechanisms of bioactivity with respect to the amorphous calcium-silicate structure will be clarified.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.kent.ac.uk