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Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Research Program

Contact: Dr. Nadya Lumelsky, (301) 594-7703, Nadya.Lumelsky@nih.gov
 
The Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Program supports basic and translational research on employing bioengineering approaches for the reconstruction, remodeling, repair and regeneration of the oral and craniofacial tissues damaged as a result of disease or injury. The goal of this scientific program is to promote interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to engineering of biocompatible oral and craniofacial tissue constructs and their functional integration into the host tissue microenvironment. The program also supports efforts aimed at restoration, remodeling and regeneration of the endogenous host tissues. In addition this program encourages research that is responsive to the NIH Common Fund Initiatives.

Engineering of Tissue Replacement Constructs

NIDCR encourages basic and translational research that takes advantage of advances in biology, chemistry, material science, nanotechnology, computer science, and engineering to develop tissue constructs that mimic structure and function of native oral and craniofacial tissues including bone, cartilage, muscle, vascular and neural components of cranium and temporomandibular joint, teeth, periodontal ligament, and oral and facial epithelium. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Cell-instructive scaffolds, including biomimetic and nanotechnology-based scaffolds capable of delivering bioactive molecules at specific concentrations in a temporally and spatially defined fashion to engineered constructs.
  • Structural scaffolds, including biomimetic and nanotechnology-based scaffolds capable of conferring external geometry, internal architecture and mechanical properties to engineered constructs.
  • Scaffolds fabricated from smart materials able to respond sensitively to environmental cues.
  • Three-dimensional in vitro bioreactors, including nanotechnology and microfluidics-based bioreactors that recapitulate normal and pathological tissue development, structure and function.
  • High-throughput assay systems, including nanotechnology and microfluidics-based systems for drug screening and other applications.
  • “Organ printing” technologies that use layered manufacturing processes, such as rapid prototyping, for fabrication of organ-like constructs.
  • Functional dynamic imaging of the dental and craniofacial tissues.
  • The use of mechanical stress, flow forces and electrical stimulation in shaping functional characteristics of engineered tissues.
  • Isolation, characterization, expansion, and differentiation of stem and progenitor cells for engineering of dental and craniofacial tissue constructs.
  • Optimization, standardization and comparison of different stem and progenitor cell sources for use in dental and craniofacial tissue engineering.
  • Gene transfer approaches to control proliferation, differentiation, reprogramming, survival, and migration of stem and progenitor cells in engineered constructs.
  • Engineering of composite tissue constructs, such as vascularized and innervated bone and muscle.

Functional Integration of Engineered Constructs into Native Host Tissue

NIDCR encourages research concerning functional and structural integration between the engineered tissue constructs and the native host tissues of the oral and craniofacial complex. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Optimization of grafting strategies of engineered tissue constructs.
  • Biocompatibility, immunogenicity, biotoxicity, and biodegradability of tissue engineering biomaterials and scaffolds in animal models, including pre-clinical large animal models.
  • Vascularization and innervation of grafted engineered constructs.
  • Augmentation of hierarchical inter-tissue interfaces in tooth, cranium and temporomandibular joint.
  • Cell tracing approaches to monitor in vivo cell proliferation, differentiation, reprogramming, survival and migration.
  • Small and large animal models to assess short- and long-term structural and functional integrity of engineered tissue constructs in vivo.

Mechanisms of Craniofacial Tissue Damage and Regeneration

NIDCR encourages research concerning craniofacial tissue damage resulting from injury, trauma, infection, inflammation, lesions, radiation, and surgery, and the regeneration capacity of these tissues. Thus, the cellular and molecular determinants of responses to damaging, degenerative and apoptotic pathways, mechanisms of tissue degeneration  and regeneration, and augmentation of regeneration processes are emphasized. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Destruction and regeneration of the periodontium, inflammatory bone erosion associated with periodontal diseases
  • Distinct molecular and cellular mechanisms of intramembranous and endochondral bone regeneration
  • Osteogenesis, angiogenesis and matrix remodeling during bone regeneration
  • Augmentation of craniofacial bone regeneration
  • Characterization of in situ stem cell populations and stem cell niches that contribute to tissue regeneration of the craniofacial complex
  • Responses of fibrocartilage to injury and trauma, mechanisms degeneration and regeneration
  • Dentin-pulp complex homeostasis, injury, regeneration and other types of therapy
  • Inflammation resolution, wound healing, connective tissue remodeling and scarless regeneration
  • Impact of biophysical forces on tissue damage and regeneration

Biotechnology Approaches to Facilitate Host Tissue Remodeling, Reconstruction, and Regeneration

NIDCR encourages research that takes advantage of advances in biology, chemistry, material science, nanotechnology, computer science, and engineering to facilitate remodeling, reconstruction, and regeneration of native host tissues of the oral and craniofacial complex.  This part of the program welcomes integrative research directed at shaping the host tissue microenvironment to resolve disease and injury-associated acute and chronic inflammation, to reduce tissue fibrosis and promote scarless wound healing, to promote vascularization and innervation of the host tissues, and to boost the endogenous regenerative capacity of the host tissues. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Targeted delivery to tissues of therapeutic molecules that modify the host tissue microenvironment.
  • Targeted delivery to tissues of genes and gene products that modify the host tissue microenvironment.
  • Controlled temporal, spatial, and combinatorial delivery and release of multiple therapeutic molecules in vivo.
  • Scaffolds and biomolecules that guide self-organization of host or exogenous cells into tissues in vivo
  • Recapitulation of structure and function of native stem cell niches in vivo.
  •  Directed cell homing and migration in vivo.
  • Directed cell reprogramming in vivo

Additional Information

For further information about the NIDCR Tissue Engineering and Dental and Craniofacial Regenerative Medicine Program, please contact:

photo of Dr. Nadya Lumelsky

Nadya Lumelsky, Ph.D.
Director, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Research Program
Integrative Biology and Infectious Diseases Branch
Division of Extramural Research
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
6701 Democracy Blvd.
Room 618, Mail Stop 4878
Bethesda, MD 20892-4878  (Courier please use: MD 20817)
Telephone: (301) 594-7703
FAX: (301) 480-8319
Email: nadyal@nidcr.nih.gov

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This page last updated: February 26, 2014