2020 BIOMATERIALS RESEARCH AWARDS ANNOUNCED

Awards for new research projects have been announced by the New Hampshire Center for Multiscale Modeling and Manufacturing of Biomaterials (NH BioMade). Led by the University of New Hampshire, NH BioMade is supported by the National Science Foundation to advance the design and manufacture of biomaterials used in medical applications such as orthopedic implants, trauma fixation hardware, scaffolding for tissue engineering, and biomedical sensors, and to address industry and clinical needs.

The NH BioMade Research Seed Funding Opportunity provides up to $50,000 for faculty and research associates at New Hampshire universities and colleges to conduct pilot projects. The following projects were initiated in 2020 after a competitive review process. A Request for Proposals (RFP) for new projects will be issued in November for awards in 2021. To sign up for notice of the RFP, email nh.epscor@unh.edu.

2020 NH BioMade Research Seed Funding Awards:

  • Bio-compatible and/or Absorbable Surgical Mesh Implants for Hernia Repair” is led by Nikhil Padhye, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, UNH, in collaboration with Velcro USA, a privately held company specializing in fasteners with manufacturing facilities in Manchester and Somersworth.  Hernia is a type of injury in which an organ bulges through a tear in a person's abdominal muscles. Hernia surgeries require closing of the abdominal opening by using a hernia mesh-implant. Currently, sutures, tacks, or bio-glues are used for holding the hernia mesh in place. Hernia mesh-implants can detach from the muscle tissue due to the failure of the sutures, or the mesh-implant itself; thereby causing serious internal injuries. This project will develop a new bonding mechanism between the mesh-implant and the muscle tissue to achieve a strong and robust adherence.  More information: nhepscor.org/NPadhye_project
  • “3D-Printable Polyrotaxane-based Tissue Engineering with Controlled Degradability” is led by Wenxing Liu, post-doctoral fellow, Dartmouth College Department of Chemistry, in collaboration with Qrons, Inc., a New York-based biotechnology company specializing in development of solutions for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries. The development of bio-compatible materials as tissue engineering implants is important for the advancement of regenerative medicine. This work will develop and test bio-inks for traumatic brain injury treatment. More information: nhepscor.org/WLiu_project
  • In situ hybrid electrode assembly for brain machine interface” is led by Young Jo Kim, assistant professor of chemical engineering, UNH. Brain-machine interfaces are an important emerging tool that could revolutionize neuroscience, therapeutic approaches, and rehabilitation technologies. Brain-machine interfaces enable communication between the human nervous system and computing systems, serving as tools to accelerate progress in neuroscience and to repair, replace, or augment neuromuscular function. This project will investigate the use of a naturally occurring biopolymer as the ideal charge-conducting material for brain-machine interfaces. More information: nhepscor.org/YJKim_project
  • “Design of Microporous Metal Oxide Transistors for Field-Enhanced Biochemical Sensing of the Immune Response” is led by William Scheideler, assistant professor of engineering, Dartmouth College, in collaboration with Boston Micro Fabrication, a leader in industrial, micro-precision 3D printing. Biosensors are key technologies for understanding the use of implanted devices in the human body and offer the potential to inform surgical procedures as well as deliver long-term information about wear, reliability, and physiological response. Porous structures are important tools for 3D integration of biomaterials with living tissues. This project will develop porous sensors for monitoring the inflammatory response to implanted biomaterials with the goal of furthering understanding of the human immune response. More information: nhepscor.org/WScheideler_project
  • “Establishing Bio-Ink Design Parameters for Extrusion-Based-Bio-Printing Processes” is led by Md. Ahasan Habib, assistant professor of Sustainable Product Design and Architecture, Keene State College. Bio-printing is an emerging technology using a computer-controlled layer-by-layer deposition of biomaterials along with high precision positioning of cells to reproduce a 3D functional living tissue. The bio-printing process can manufacture highly intricate and porous 3D constructs that serve as a temporary structural support (known as a scaffold) for growing the isolated cells, providing nutrients to new tissues, facilitating the healing process, restoring the tissue function, and minimizing the wound scar. This project will advance the development of materials that are compatible with the human body to support tissue regrowth in large scale. More information: nhepscor.org/MAHabib_project
  • “Bio-Inspired Design and Manufacturing of Polymer-Derived Ceramics in Health Applications” is led by Yan Li, assistant professor of engineering, Dartmouth College. Polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs) have potential to replace metallic materials in many biomedical applications due to their outstanding properties such as compatibility with human tissue, thermal stability, high resistance to corrosion and thermal shock, and good electrical conductivity. Conditions in the human body can cause corrosion and degradation of metallic medical implants such as pacemakers. However, the use of PDCs in health applications has been limited primarily due to their relative low fracture toughness and reliability. This project will develop a framework to identify the material performance and failure issues of PDCs and predict fracture toughness and durability. More information: nhepscor.org/YLi_project