Within the theme Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration, we focus on bone and cartilage tissue engineering, and maxillofacial bone regeneration (the face, mouth, and jaws).
Damage and loss of cartilage and bone mass can occur at any age, due to injury, disease, trauma, or simply wear and tear. Traditional solutions include a prosthesis, which are made from metal and have a limited lifespan. This often results in revision surgery, which is expensive and risky.
In Utrecht, we are working towards alternative approaches. In general, we follow two different strategies:
- We aim to coax our bodies to regenerate themselves, for instance with mechanical stimuli, or the help of intelligent scaffolds (e.g., joint distraction, or 3D printing of better prostheses).
- We are fabricating and cultivating tissue in the laboratory, which we are trying to optimize for transplantation (i.e., biofabrication).
Joint reconstruction and infection
The general scope of my studies are to advance artificial joint reconstruction using optimal designs from 3D printing, biofabrication or implant coating tools, in order to improve implant fixation and prevent or treat revisions and infections with. The ultimate goals of my research are to replace bone in a regenerative process by natural bone and treat infections in a non-surgical or minimally invasive manner.
Local drug delivery in cartilage and disc
Research in the group focuses on proof of concept of different types of carriers and loaded bioactive molecules for long term effects on pain and regeneration and general mechanisms governing release.
The main research focus of the group is on chronic lower back pain due to intervertebral disc degeneration and joint pain due to osteoarthritis. These two major musculoskeletal disorders are commonly encountered in human, canine, and equine patients causing extensive disability and reduced quality of life.
The general scope of studies in our group is on enhancing the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases using an integrated translational approach that combines different regenerative medicinal disciplines.