Effects of Surface Topography

Effects of Surface Topography

A classical principle of tissue engineering is that materials, by themselves, with the fine tuning of their mechanical and surface properties, are able to stimulate stem cell differentiation in the absence of chemical treatment. Conventional implant materials for instance usually fail to properly induce bone regeneration, owing to encapsulation by soft tissue, rather than direct bone bonding.

In our lab we study the use of nanoscale order and disorder on the surface of materials in contacts with cells to stimulate human MSCs to produce bone mineral in vitro, in the absence of osteogenic supplements. MSCs respond to nanoscale surface features, with changes in cell growth and differentiation mediated by alterations in cell adhesion. The interaction of nano-topographical features with integrin receptors in the cells' focal adhesions alters how the cells adhere to materials surfaces and defines cell fate through changes in both cell biochemistry and cell 
morphology.