SEPTEMBER 2013 – KMM-VIN – Skeletal Tissue Engineering Mechanics, with Links to Biology, Chemistry and Medicine
September 23, 2013 — September 27, 2013
- Christian Hellmich (Vienna University of Technology, Austria)
- Aldo R. Boccaccini (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany)
Tissue engineering is the use of cells and bio-chemical substances, in combination with engineering and materials methods, in order to restore, maintain, or improve the functioning of biological tissue. The material scientific and cell biological technologies used in contemporary tissue engineering have reached breathtaking sophistication. On the contrary, the current design process of tissue engineering (TE) scaffolds is still a pure trial and error approach. We propose that this conceptual weakness explains why reliable, safe TE solutions for the daily clinical use are the exception, rather than the rule. In fact, it is very complicated (if not impossible), even with tremendous input gained from sophisticated experimental work, to guess suitable combinations of the key design parameters (chemical composition, porosity, microstructural geometry, distribution of signalling factors and biological cells), which reflect a highly complex system of mutually coupled phenomena.
This is where the field of applied mechanics is expected to be of enormous help – and recent developments in latest years are planned to be disseminated to an interdisciplinary audience from civil and mechanical engineering, material science, biology, and biomedicine. In more detail, the lectures of the proposed course will cover topics concerning the key challenges of contemporary tissue engineering strategies, which result from (at least) two competing requirements: (i) the tissue engineering scaffolds must exhibit a sufficient mechanical competence, i.e. stiffness and strength comparable to natural bone. This relates to structural soundness; and (ii) within the living organism, it should be continuously resorbed and replaced by natural bone. This relates to the topic of bioresorbable scaffolds enabling internal growth of new tissue.
Thereby, bone tissue will be the key focus, since in this field, great progress has been made, not only in the fields of materials science and biology, but in particular in the field of applied and computational mechanics.
The course will gather experts from the fields of applied mechanics, biology, and chemistry, in order to give, in an unprecedented transdisciplinary fashion (normally, applied mechanicians are rather missing in the topic, than coordinating a joint educational effort), the cutting-edge view on what the up-to-date ingredients of tissue engineering for load-carrying organs are.
The course is addressed to all doctoral students, researchers, engineers, physicists, chemists, biologists, and medical doctors interested in a novel, comprehensive approach to the understanding and improvement of the tissue engineering field, with special emphasis on mechanics of tissue engineering scaffolds and on the effect of mechanics on biological systems.