Tissue Engineering, Regeneration and Repair Program

Laboratory of Functional Tissue Engineering

Overview: Laboratory of Functional Tissue Engineering

Our laboratory is focused on the development of novel solutions to treat young active patients with chondral or meniscal defects early in the course of the problem, thus delaying the need for a total joint replacement.

To enhance the development process, we are designing a suite of pre-clinical tests to elucidate the effect of (1) soft tissue injury and repair on knee joint function, and scaffold design (mechanical properties, morphology) on the response of included cells.

The tests are intended to allow us optimize the ability of soft tissue substitutes to support cellular migration and matrix generation, while maintaining an ability to carry and distribute joint load. The ability to iteratively assess the effect of scaffold/substitute design changes on the functional performance of substitutes in vitro is intended to facilitate the rapid transition of functional implants to clinical use.

Areas of Research: Functional Tissue Engineering Laboratory

Together with an inter-disciplinary team, we use a combination of experimental, computational, and statistical models to:

(i) Understand the effect of meniscal and cartilage injury and current surgical treatments on the loads distributed across human knees during every-day activities;

(ii) Develop and optimize polymeric scaffolds so that they can mechanically function similarly to the tissue that they are intended to replace;

(iii) Explore mechanisms to help foster functional implant-tissue integration;

(iv) Investigate the interaction of scaffold variables and mechanical stimulation in directing cell response.

Laboratory Personnel: Laboratory of Functional Tissue Engineering

Suzanne Maher, Ph.D., Assistant Scientist and Laboratory Head

Postdoctoral Fellows
Kenneth Ng, Ph.D.

Visiting Faculty
Horng-Chaung Hsu, M.D., Professor and Chairman Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.
Dr. Asheesh Bedi MD, Orthopedic Surgeon - Ann Arbor, Michigan

Research Associates, Fellows, & Senior Technicians
Natalie Kelly, B.S.
Saadiq El-Amin, M.D.

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Principal Scientist
Suzanne Maher, PhD