Mura McCarthy, Ireland finalist
Mura graduated with a first
class honours degree in Biomedical Engineering and a commendation in a Diploma
of Industrial Studies from the University of Ulster in 2008. In the same
year she began a PhD with the University's Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Research
investigates the response of human mesenchymal stem cells to calcium phosphate
sputter deposited thin films, with a view to promoting osteogenesis without the
need for biochemical stimulants in the culture media.
Response of human mesenchymal stem cells to modified biomaterial surfaces
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold great promise for use in bone tissue engineering applications due to their many autologous sourcing sites and differentiation potential in vitro. To direct MSC differentiation towards an osteogenic lineage, current culture methods rely on the provision of biochemical stimulus in the growth media. There is a need to develop alternative methods of inducing osteogenic differentiation as some of the commonly used biochemical stimulants may have detrimental effects on the body.
The chemical and physical properties of a biomaterial have a significant effect on cell behaviour and by altering their specific properties, different cell responses can be induced and controlled. For MSCs, biomaterials with specific chemical and topographical features can direct MSC differential behaviour. Of particular interest is the development of biomaterials with surface features that can directly induce osteogenic differentiation of MSCs without the addition of biochemical stimulants in the culture media.
Sputter deposited titanium and calcium phosphate thin films can promote osteoblast attachment, proliferation and mineralisation and have therefore been investigated as a candidate surface for inducing the osteogenic differentiation of MSCs.