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Ph.D. Studentship

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  • Ph.D. Studentship

    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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