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Building better bones and tissue in the lab

Tissue engineering holds great promise for the treatment of conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, fibrosis, periodontal disease and traumatic injuries. However, bone and cartilage currently produced in the laboratory don't have sufficient strength to function in the body so they're not clinically viable. Dr. Douglas Hamilton, a dental researcher with the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario has received funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to try to find solutions to that problem.

Hamilton and the Centre for the Study of Biomaterials and Tissue Regeneration has received nearly $163,000 from CFI to purchase specialized equipment to assess cell responses to a variety of mechanical forces and biomaterial types using state-of-the-art molecular biology and imaging techniques.

"In many instances our ability to help tissues such as bone to repair, is limited as we don't fully understand how human tissues respond to the presence of artificial materials. This becomes even more problematic in tissues that are loaded due to normal human activity," says Hamilton. "With the funding from the CFI, we are establishing an innovative laboratory that will allows us to study how cells respond to both mechanical stimulation and biomaterials such as titanium at the same time. We anticipate learning much about how cells sense their environment and subsequently regenerate tissues, which will be important in orthopaedics, dentistry, and cardiovascular medicine."

CFI just announced $45.5 million in new funds to support 251 projects across the country. Western received a total of $1.3 million to fund five research projects. The four other recipients are:

  • Dr. Timothy Regnault, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, $288,000, A Laboratory for Investigating the Role of Fetal Programming in Metabolic Syndrome. Regnault is also a scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute.
  • Dr. Joan Knoll, Department of Pathology, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, $212,039, Translational Cytogenomic Infrastructure for Detection and Characterization of Chromosomal Abnormalities. Knoll is also an associate scientist at Lawson.
  • Dr. Samuel Siu, Department of Medicine, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, $359,419, Translational Imaging Centre for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research (TRICORE). Siu is the Chair and Chief of Cardiology.
  • Desmond Moser, PhD, Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science and Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, $310,051, Nanobeam Materials Analyzer for Probing Planetary Evolution and Resources (NanoMAPPER); an Innovation in Planetary Materials Science


Contact: Kathy Wallis
519-661-2111 x81136
University of Western Ontario

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