Project Description

The growth plate, a region of cartilage found in the long bones of growing children, is responsible for healthy bone development and elongation. The growth plate’s function and structure relies on a complex system of both biochemical and biophysical cues. However, in the case of limb paralysis or fracture to the surrounding bone collar, the cues that drive cell division, differentiation, and alignment in the growth plate are disrupted. This disruption often leads to long term complications such as abnormal bone shortening, widening, or curvature. In this project, we aim to fill the current gap in knowledge regarding the role that mechanical forces, namely radial constraint and axial loading, play in driving and maintaining the columnar arrangement of cells in the proliferative zone of the growth plate. To do so, we are employing a viscoelastic hydrogel system with dynamic hydrazone bonds which enables cell division, separation, and self-alignment under mechanical constraint. Undergraduate work on this project would most likely include cell culture, mechanical characterization of hydrogels, and imaging.

Special Requirement

Student should have some knowledge of biology and a strong interest in biomaterials.