Arthritis-attributable medical expenditures and earnings losses in the United States were recently estimated to be >$300 billion annually  This financial burden falls disproportionately on ~8 million people who suffer advanced symptomatic osteoarthritis in load-bearing joints  Fortunately, tissue engineering strategies such as matrix-assisted autologous chondrocyte transplantation (MACT) have emerged to address the limitations of traditional treatment options, potentially offering low cost and non-invasive cartilage regeneration.
Covalently crosslinked hydrogels are attractive scaffolds for cartilage regeneration because they provide robust mechanical support for chondrocytes in articulating joints. However, these materials typically demonstrate purely elastic responses to deformation despite the dynamic viscoelastic properties of native tissue. I am interested in using dynamic covalent chemistries to develop viscoelastic materials for cartilage tissue engineering. To this end, I use imine crosslink equilibria to form covalent adaptable networks (CANs). By tuning the identity of adjacent chemical moieties and altering the connectivity of network architectures, I study how crosslink adaptation can influence the development of cartilage neotissue in vitro.
 L.B. Murphy, et al., Arthritis Care Res. (Hoboken). (2018). doi :10.1002/acr.23425.
 B.R. Deshpande, et al, Arthritis Care Res. (Hoboken). (2016). doi :10.1002/acr.22897.