Resolve - Volume 1, 2013 - (Page 5)
patented bioactive glass “scaffolds”
regenerate damaged bone
sabbatical benefits researcher
and his students
or diseased bone and other hard tissue.
Himanshu Jain and his colleagues
“Scientists have had some success
recently received two U.S. patents for
in regenerating soft tissue,” says Jain.
“scaffolds” of glass that regenerate dis“But hard tissue is much more difficult
eased bone tissue. Their endeavor, which
spans four continents, began in 2004,
Jain’s group spent seven years
when Lehigh received an NSF grant
designing and testing its patented
to establish the International Materials
glass scaffold. A critical feature of the
Institute (IMI) for New Functionality
On a visit to Egypt in
2004, Jain, who directs the
IMI, met Mona Marei,
who heads the tissue engineering lab in the Faculty
of Dentistry at the
University of Alexandria.
Marei challenged Jain to
develop a glass product
that could be used to treat
people with deteriorating
teeth and jawbones.
Jain began collaborating with Rui Almeida
Interconnected porosity in the glass developed by Jain (left) and his
and Ana Marques of the
team allows cells to proliferate and attach to the inside of the scaffold.
Instituto Superior Tecnico
material is a coexistent interconnected
in Lisbon, Portugal, on a method of
porosity at the nano- and macroscales
making biocompatible glass. Hassan
that enables cells to proliferate and
Moawad, Jain’s research associate,
attach to the inside of the scaffold
also joined the group and worked on
while facilitating the flow of nutrients
a second fabrication approach.
to regenerating bone tissue and accelIn 2006, on a flight to Japan, Jain
erating the rate at which the material
bumped into Matthias Falk, a Lehigh
decays and is absorbed by the body.
biologist with expertise in the cellular
In trials conducted by Marei, the
processes underlying tissue regeneration.
group has succeeded in regeneratThe group later welcomed Leena Hupa
ing the blood vessels, collagen and
of the Abo Akademi in Finland, who
jawbones of animals. Jain, Almeida
has a knowledge of scaffold degradation,
and Marques were awarded a patent
and Jui Chakraborty of the Central
in October for nano/macroporous
Glass and Ceramic Research Institute in
bone tissue scaffolds for regenerative
Kolkata, India, who is helping develop
medicine. A second patent awarded
an injectable paste of the glass.
in March for the fabrication approach
The challenge for the group was
devised by Moawad is based on the
to make a biocompatible material that,
conventional melt-quench method of
when placed inside the body, would
degrade at about the same rate the
The project has received support
new tissue grows. This scaffold,
from NSF and IMI and has provided
tailored to the needs of the individual
training to more than a dozen underpatient, would at the same time
graduate and graduate students.
stimulate the regrowth of damaged
Fresh off a sabbatical at Caltech, Jim Gilchrist is finding considerable
interest in his research on particle coatings and the structure of suspensions. This summer, he will deliver invited keynote presentations on
particle coatings at conferences in Washington, D.C., and Shanghai.
Recently, he’s given talks in Lisbon and North Carolina on his work
with suspensions, and he will give another lecture on that topic in
Denmark in the near future.
His colleagues at Caltech were particularly interested in the
results that Gilchrist, an associate professor of chemical engineering,
has achieved in the field of suspension microstructural characterization. Using confocal laser scanning microscopy, he and his group
track particles in 3-D solutions to determine their “fingerprint” and
to understand how structure relates to the unusual properties of
complex fluids. They strive to obtain simulation-level detail from these
nanoscale measurements and use them to calculate internal stresses.
The measurements promise to enable the design of complex
fluids whose properties are useful in the pharmaceutical, chemical,
agricultural, food, cosmetic, ceramic, electronic and mining (hydraulic
fracturing) industries. They could also shed light on natural processes
like transport sediment in rivers and blood flow.
Graduate student M. Tharanga Perera, who measures suspension
stress during flow, has reported unexpected particle ordering when
polymer is added to solution. “The work has motivated him to produce
perhaps the most accurate measurements to date of these systems,”
Alexander Weldon, a fifth-year undergrad, has given several
conference presentations on the coatings research he conducts
with Gilchrist. These experiences have strengthened his aspiration
to be an astronaut.
“The opportunities to
network and to collaborate
with faculty on research,” says
Gilchrist, “help pave the way
for students like Tharanga and
Alex to move into the next
stages of their careers.”
Confocal laser scanning microsAt Caltech, Gilchrist was
copy helps Gilchrist track particles
hosted by John F. Brady, the
Chevron Professor of Chemical
Engineering, who studies
novel simulations of suspensions. “The experience was inspirational,”
says Gilchrist. “Brady and the entire chemical engineering faculty were
incredibly welcoming and supportive.”
The sabbatical also connected Gilchrist with Harry Atwater,
director of Caltech’s Light-Material Interactions Energy Frontier
Research Center. Gilchrist and Atwater are developing microlens
array coatings for silicon solar cells, mirroring a similar project
Gilchrist has with Mark Snyder, the P.C. Rossin Assistant Professor
of Chemical Engineering at Lehigh.
leHigH uniVersitY • p.c. rossin college of engineering and applied science • 5
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