This grant provides funding for the development of a computer-aide tissue engineering (CATE) approach for design and fabrication of load bearing tissue scaffolds. The CATE approach provides novel models and computational algorithms that address multiple design constraints for tissue scaffold, including the structural integrity (needed for implantation), micro-architecture (for cell growth, transport and tissue formation), and the scaffold manufacturability. The project work involves: 1) the modeling and representation of tissue morphologies as CAD based feature primitives, and the design of feature-based scaffold building block database; 2) the development of a biomimetic design framework and the interface to transfer intricate scaffold design towards the scaffold fabrication; and 3) the development of a computational algorithm for distribution-based mapping that will be used for scaffold structural and transport design optimization.
If successful, this project will lead to developing new techniques and tools for the design and fabrication of load bearing tissue scaffolds and replacements. These modeling and design techniques will facilitate the application of state-of-art computer-aided technologies to emerging tissue engineering problems. The project will actively engage industry, government and medical institutions, including collaborations with the developers of national and international standards for scaffold production, the leading tissue engineering manufacturer, and a major medical center with expertise in tissue scaffold and replacement application. This project will also produce joint curricula, integrating computer science, mechanical engineering and bioengineering to educate future generation of scientists and engineers who are interested in pursuing design, manufacturing and application of tissue substitutes.