Dr. Ketul Popat, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Surfaces that contain micro- and nanoscale features in a well-controlled and “engineered” manner have been shown to significantly affect cellular and subcellular function. Within the auspices of the our research program, we are developing, refining and extending select fabrication routes for producing materials with controlled nanoarchitecture and bioactivity, potentially moving us closer to the goal of biointegration. Of great interest is the creation of controlled micro- and nanoarchitectures in an attempt to mimic the natural physical and biological environment that encourages tissue regeneration and growth. The hypothesis is that the nanoarchitectures can promote cell differentiation and functionality. Moreover, the ability to create model nanodimensional constructs that mimic physiological systems can aid in studying complex tissue interactions in terms of cell communication, response to matrix geometry, and effects of external chemical stimuli. By understanding how physical surface parameters influence cellular adhesion and differentiation we can more effectively design biomaterial surfaces for variety of tissue engineering applications. Further, nanostructured materials can be used as drug eluting interfaces for implantable devices, such as vascular stents, orthopedic implants, dental implants, etc. By precisely controlling the size of nanoarcitecture, we can manipulate the release rates; thus releasing the drug at physiological levels.