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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W023164/1
Title: A biomimetic macromolecular platform for tissue healing and diagnostics at medical device interfaces: a personalised wound dressing model
Principal Investigator: Santin, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Terrazzini, Dr NN Hesketh, Dr A Redhead, Dr L
Crua, Professor C Marengo, Professor M Otter, Dr S
Kudsiova, Dr L Elsom, Dr J Sandeman, Dr SR
Harris, Dr PJ Sarker, Dr DK Georgoulas, Dr A
Forss, Mrs JR Bucca, Dr G
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr V V Perugini
Project Partners:
Automatic Tooling Company Ltd Synergy Medical Technologies Tissue Click Ltd
Welland Medical Limited
Department: Sch of Applied Sciences (SAS)
Organisation: University of Brighton
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 20 September 2022 Ends: 19 September 2028 Value (£): 2,886,291
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biological & Medicinal Chem. Biomaterials
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Feb 2022 Healthcare Technologies Investigator Led Panel Feb 2022 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Biomimetic biomaterials are materials mimicking the features of natural tissues and mainly advocated for the manufacturing of medical implants capable of achieving a complete integration with the host tissue through biospecific interactions with biomolecules and cells. It is argued that the ability to develop biomaterials capable of biospecific interactions can be exploited also for the development of very specific and sensitive diagnostics targeting disease markers.

Prof Matteo Santin has contributed to this field of research since 1991 through many research projects unveiling the links between the surface properties of biomaterials and their interaction with proteins, inflammatory cells and tissue cells. The knowledge acquired has led to the research for new biomimetic biomaterials that, unlike other approaches trying to mimic the natural micro- and macro-structures of tissues, has been focussing on the reproduction of natural features at macromolecular level. In particular, through international academic and industrial collaborations, the research has led to the development of novel methods of biomaterial surface modification mainly based on the chemical grafting of synthetic or natural macromolecules or through the engineering of their roughness; in both cases the aim was to make their surface features similar to those of the natural environment where cells and macromolecule reside and to encourage biospecific recognition processes relevant to tissue healing and diagnosis; these studies have led to the integration of implants through the regeneration of the host tissue at the implant surface and to methods of detection of diseases.

This 6-years project will develop a novel platform of biomimetic macromolecules for tissue healing and disease monitoring focussing its application on the development of a novel class of wound dressings with theranostic properties; i.e. dressings able to heal wounds while diagnosing their clinical status.

The development of this platform will be pursued through the effort of a multidisciplinary team at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Devices, University of Brighton. Unlike previous studies, biochemists will use simulated body fluids to study the formation of the water shell around biomolecules when alone or in proximity of the surface of wound dressing materials and will establish the factors affecting their native structure. The data of molecular solvability will then be used by computer model scientists to produce a database of wettability in 'natural interactions' capable of preserving the biomolecules' native structure. Chemists will design and synthesise new classes of macromolecules according to this database to reproduce the same wettability conditions at the dressing surface and inhibit their unwanted fouling. The novel macromolecules will be coupled to the dressing in conjunction with peptides and sugars known to drive specific bio-recognition processes. Cell biologists will analyse the behaviours of patients' immune and tissue cells when in contact with the novel biomimetic surfaces and compare them with those observed by clinicians at the interface of retrieved wound dressing. The obtained biospecific recognition will be analysed in the context of patient's individual responses and exploited to manufacture tissue healing dressings integrating disease biomarker detection systems based on visual inspection.

A range of macromolecules will therefore be designed and synthesised at industrial standard and with relative quality controls to the benefit of industrial partners and on the basis of the principle of 'shared innovation' whereby fundamental knowledge and new technology are applied to various markets and clinical uses promoting industrial synergies and avoiding conflicts of interest. A network of local biomedical industry will benefit from the project outcomes alongside the training provided by the University of Brighton to newly qualified personnel.
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Organisation Website: http://www.bton.ac.uk