Above: Bone cancer cells populate the surface of a bioscaffold in an electron microscope image.
Tissue engineering and biomechanics research efforts are focused on the 1) understanding of biochemical, molecular, cellular, and biomechanical characteristics of normal and diseased tissues, 2) design and fabrication of novel scaffolds, and 3) development of optimal culturing conditions for tissue engineered constructs. The effects of mechanical stimuli are being investigated from the level of single-cell gene expression to tissue mechanical properties. Scaffold designs incorporate novel biomaterials, bioactive molecules, and combinatorial variations in subunit scaffold micro-architecture. Culture conditions involving biochemical and mechanical cues are being optimized for engineering bone, cartilage, heart valves, and small diameter vascular grafts.
Researchers in the Rice Department of Bioengineering that are involved in this field include: