Poking holes in Bio-materials (MEP)
What and Why
Biological tissue is a complex material that has important structural properties which are partially responsible for the viscoelastic behaviour of tissues under mechanical loads. Evidence suggests that composite materials represent a better synthetic model for tissue than single component systems, however knowledge of the structural implications of composite materials remains scarce. In our lab we produce tissue-like material from purified components and investigate relevant behaviours under certain experimental conditions.
An important structural parameter is the mesh size of the synthetic tissues. As well as playing a role in the mechanical properties of the material, the mesh size has key implications for transport of important biomolecules such as growth factors. Additionally, the effect of mesh size on cell migration and proliferation is a vital consideration when designing synthetic tissues.
In this project you will investigate the effect of different experimental conditions on the structural properties of composite materials. There are a variety of methods which you can explore to characterise this including fluorescence microcopy, differential dynamic microscopy, and compressional rheology. The project can be tailored to suit your specific interests, where greater focus can be put on rheology, microscopy or data analysis.