We are working to create multi-compartment scaffolds as regenerative templates for multi-tissue interfaces such as the tendon to bone junction (TBJ). Collagen-glycosaminoglycan (CG) scaffolds have previously been successfully employed in a variety of soft tissue regeneration applications. Recently strategies for creating mineralized CG (CGCaP) scaffold variants along with fabrication methods to create layered osteochondral scaffolds have been demonstrated. Here I will discuss methods for the fabrication and characterization of both single and multi-compartment scaffolds targeted for the TBJ. Following production, both histology and microCT imaging approaches were employed to investigate scaffold microstructural features. In the case of the mineralized CGCaP scaffolds, mineral content as well as phase were determined via DMMB and hydroxyproline assays as well as x-ray diffraction approaches, respectively. Bulk mechanical and permeability characterization methods were applied and then compared with ultrasound elastography approaches targeting non-destructive analysis of individual scaffold compartments within the heterogeneous multi-compartment scaffolds. Finally, the biocompatibility of hMSCs within CG and CGCaP scaffold compartments was investigated using bioactivity, gene expression, and functional metrics as a precursor to both in vivo testing as well as subsequent work creating fully interpenetrating TBJ grafts that can drive multi-lineage MSC differentiation in a spatially-selective manner.
Daniel Weisgerber is a graduate student working under Dr. Brendan Harley in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His work is focused on the fabrication and characterization of multi-compartment collagen and gylcosaminoglycan scaffolds for tissue regeneration, with a particular interest in controlling the interface between two chemically and microstructurally different compartments. As a PhD student, it is his goal to enter a faculty position from which he can continue his research and share his knowledge with the next generation of scientists and engineers. He has particularly enjoyed programming and applying his knowledge of material fabrication to tissue engineering. Outside of lab, Daniel enjoys a wide variety of outdoor activities, including rock climbing, hockey, soccer, running, and swimming, in addition to reading good novels.
From Weisgerber's IGERT page
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1000 MNTL, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL