Advanced Tissue Repair
Dr Ben Almquist’s work lies in the intersection of material sciences, biology and nanotechnology. He focuses on the development of methods to dynamically manipulate the behaviour of cells and tissues. In particular, this work enables us to understand how to direct the process of tissue repair by manipulating signalling networks. One application of this work is the design of wound dressings that can program the sequence of drug release into a patient wound, while another lies in the ways in which cell behaviours can be guided in order to promote blood vessel growth in damaged tissue.
Ben works in the interface between material sciences, biology and nanotechnology, in particular focusing on technologies for tissue regeneration. This is an area of high unmet medical as existing therapies have not worked efficiently for the past 20 years or at too toxic. (e.g. growth factors for the regeneration of diabetic foot ulcers that, if unhealed can result in amputations).
Ben’s research focuses on two aspects:
- Designing wound dressings that can program the temporal sequence of drug release in a patient wound.
- Design 3D matrices through 3D printing that can drive cell behaviours such as the growth of blood vessels in a damaged tissue. In other words, use these materials to “guide” cell growth.
Until now Ben’s research has focused primarily on superficial wounds, but, if the cellular networks that intervene in wound healing are well understood, this could be applied to the regeneration of organs such as a damaged heart tissue after a myocardial infarction and the technology could have even more sophisticated applications if combined with new developments around stem cell research (e.g. organ regeneration).