Carlos Mota, MERLN – Maastricht University presents: “Tissue engineered constructs for middle ear repair”

Carlos Mota, Postdoctoral research fellow at MERLN Institute for Technology-inspired Regenerative Medicine – Maastricht University, presents: “Tissue engineered constructs for middle ear repair”.

“Hearing loss at the middle ear (ME) level is a major problem that impairs the normal auditory function and can be caused by diseases or trauma, leading to damages of the ossicular chain (OC) and/or tympanic membrane (TM). To repair the sound transmission apparatus, a reconstructive surgery is normally performed with different types of materials, spanning from biological grafts to alloplastic biomaterials. Tissue Engineering approaches, combining scaffolds with patient own cells, can play a key role in developing alternative solutions with improved otocompatibility and functionality.

In this study, we developed, new partial ossicular replacement prosthesis (PORP) and TM scaffolds for ME repair. Biofabrication techniques, namely three-dimensional fiber deposition technique and electrospinning were used to manufacture scaffolds from commercial biocompatible and biodegradable copolymers. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were cultured in vitro on the PORP and TM scaffolds and differentiated into osteoblasts and TM fibroblasts, respectively. Our findings showed that TM bio-inspired substrates topographically routed cell growth along superimposed architectural pathways, thus appearing as promising candidates for functional TM replacement. Furthermore, PORP scaffolds cultured with MSCs were able to differentiate in vitro into osteoblasts producing bone extracellular matrix. These OC constructs showed acoustic response superior to that of commercial prostheses.”

Mota1About Carlos Mota
Carlos is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at MERLN Institute for Technology-inspired Regenerative Medicine, Maastricht University. In 2013, he was a postdoc at the department of Tissue Regeneration, University of Twente, the Netherlands where he developed, in partnership with Screvo B.V., a multiwell array platform for high content screening, targeting the effect of small molecules and biopharmaceutical in cancer therapeutics in vitro and in vivo. Carlos received his PhD in Biomaterials from the BIOS research doctorate school in Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Pisa, in March 2012. His doctoral studies were focused on the development of new approaches for the fabrication of polymeric scaffolds for Tissue Engineering applications. Furthermore, he was a researcher at the department of Neurosciences, University of Pisa, where he developed scaffolds for otology surgery applications. Currently, his main research interests are focused on biofabrication, bioprinting and additive manufacturing techniques for the development of tissue engineered constructs.

About Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine (MERLN), Department of Complex Tissue Regeneration (CTR), University of Maastricht
MERLN strives for a leading position in the field of biomedical engineering by combining creative research with training of an interdisciplinary generation of scientists. MERLN’s activities operate at the interface of biology and engineering and aim at maximizing outreach at the level of public involvement, development and commercialization of research. MERLN’s vision is based on sharing of knowledge, infrastructure and ambition. Research at MERLN is focused on developing novel and challenging technologies to advance the field of tissue and organ repair and regeneration. The strategy involves, amongst others, the development of “smart” biomaterials which can trigger intrinsic tissue repair mechanisms mediated by the patient’s own cells. The primary focus of the research activities is on connective tissue repair and regeneration. MERLN’s scientists are involved in educational activities within different undergraduate and graduate programmes. Their expertise lies in biology, materials science and engineering, with emphasis on biomedical applications including regenerative medicine. Scientists at MERLN have an extensive network of collaborators within research institutions in and outside the Netherlands as well as with a number of biomedical companies, including their own spin-off companies.

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