Ph.D. Studentship in Biomaterials at the Bioengineering Research Centre,
University College Dublin (in conjunction with the Trauma Research Group at
The Queen's University of Belfast).

Novel tissue-engineering approaches to bone graft

Bone grafts are required in a number of orthopaedic procedures, to treat
bone defects. Various synthetic alternatives to autologous bone have been
tried, but have had limited success because they lack living cells and are
slow to vascularise. Existing synthetic graft materials generally have pore
morphologies and interconnectivities which are dissimilar to cancellous
bone, and this may impair their population with cells and vascularisation.
At UCD, a novel graft material has been developed with porosity identical
to cancellous bone, which is likely to perform better. At QUB, considerable
experience has been gained in culturing both osteoblasts and endothelial
cells. This collaborative tissue engineering project will combine these
techniques, involving investigation of the new ceramic graft material as a
scaffold for cocultured osteogenic and angiogenic cells. It is theorised
that a mixture of osteoblasts and endothelial cells will lead to better
vascularisation of synthetic graft than osteoblasts alone, and that they
will do so more effectively in the new ceramic material. Blocks of calcium
phosphate will be prepared with natural (bone-like) and synthetic
(non-bone-like, similar to commercial materials) porosity, mechanical
properties will be measured, and combinations of bone-forming and
endothelial cells cultured within the blocks in vitro. The in vitro work
will provide information enabling an animal experiment, designed to
determine whether the combination of physiological porosity and pre-seeding
of the implant with osteogenic or a combination of osteogenic and
angiogenic cells does indeed enhance vascularisation in vivo.

RELEVANT RECENT PUBLICATIONS (for further information)
O'Kelly, K., Tancred, D. McCormack, B. and Carr, A. (1996) A quantitative
technique for comparing synthetic porous hydroxyapatite structures and
cancellous bone. J. Mater. Sci. Mater. Med., 7, 207-213.

Tancred, D.C., McCormack, B.A.O. and Carr, A.J. (1998) A quantitative study
of the sintering and mechanical properties of hydroxyapatite/phosphate
glass composites. Biomaterials, 19, 1735-1743.

Tancred, D.C., McCormack, B.A.O. and Carr, A.J. (1998) A synthetic bone
implant macroscopically identical to cancellous bone. Biomaterials, 19,

Tancred, D.C., Carr, A.J. and McCormack, B.A.O. (1998) Development of a new
synthetic bone graft. J. Mater. Sci. Mater. Med., 9, 819-823.

A minimum grant of 7000 Irish pounds p.a., tax-free, for a period of 3
years. Additional emoluments may be available.

Fees for a Ph.D. will be paid by the Centre, in the case of an EU National;
additional funds may be available to pay fees for non-EU Nationals.

The candidate must be able to commence work at UCD before 1 January 2000.

Dr Alun J. Carr
Bioengineering Research Centre
Mechanical Engineering Dept
University College Dublin
Dublin 4

Tel.: +353-(0)1-7061989
Fax: +353-(0)1-2830534

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