Biomaterials research applies concepts and methods from chemical engineering, materials science and engineering, cell biology, and biochemistry to create synthetic and biological materials for diagnostic and therapeutic uses. Active topics at the School of Biomedical Engineering include:
- Tissue scaffolds to support growth, differentiation, and regeneration of cells and tissues. Western BME researchers have developed methods to produce scaffolds using extracellular matrix-based materials and by electrospinning natural or synthetic microfibers. Medical applications of these materials include repair of bone and cartilage to treat musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis, the growth of new blood vessels to treat peripheral arterial disease, and treatment of chronic skin wounds.
- Injectable hydrogels, nanoparticles and microparticles for localized delivery and controlled release of therapeutic agents.
- Nanoparticles for use in biosensors, e.g., to measure glucose concentrations in diabetes patients.
- Nanoparticle contrast media for magnetic resonance and optical imaging, e.g., for visualizing small blood vessels or to localize therapeutic stem cells.
- Smart materials (i.e., environmentally responsive) for biosensors, e.g., for in-vivo monitoring of orthopaedic implants. Many of our investigators employ innovative 3D printing technologies to fabricate these devices.
- Bioactive glasses and composites for use in dental implants.