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Dr Alvaro Mata 'Integrating top-down and bottom-up strategies for the hierarchical control of scaffold biomaterials'

Date: Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:30 - 16:30

Location: SEMS Seminar Room

Dr Alvaro Mata, Head of the Nanotechnology Platform at Parc Cientific Barcelona, Spain

The scaffold material has become a central and essential component within tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. This leading role has been primarily a result of the capacity to fabricate materials that communicate with biology at fundamental levels. Top-down and bottom-up biomaterial fabrication strategies have both advantages and disadvantages. Whilst on one hand top-down techniques continue to improve in their level of precision, reproducibility and high-throughput capabilities, they are still burdened with issues such as low biocompatibility, limited three-dimensionality, and the need for expensive equipment. On the other hand, bottom-up approaches are constantly generating novel self-assembling building-blocks, assembling pathways, and functionalities but still have limited capacity to achieve micro/macroscale order and materials with complex hierarchies. This talk will first present recent work that takes advantage of either micro/nanofabrication (top-down) or molecular self-assembly (bottom-up) to create bioactive and biomimetic scaffolds. Then, I will describe ongoing work that aims to integrate these traditionally incompatible, yet in many ways complimentary, strategies to create scaffolds with improved complexity that exhibit precise physical and biochemical signals designed to control and guide cell behavior.