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Can we 3D print new joints? How does bioglass open potentially new ways of tackling diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s? Will we be able to engineer new skin to help fix our bodies? Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of bioengineering and learn how this research can help improve how we heal in the future.
Amazing Glass: From Smart Phones to Clever Bones
Not many of us think of glass as a high tech material but it is already used to catch space dust (Aerogel), as smart phone displays (Gorilla Glass) and for healing shattered bones (Bioglass). It has bad press because it is brittle, but now unbreakable glass is possible, meaning shatterproof screens and healing cartilage through 3D printing are not far away. Bioglass has the ability to tell cells in our body what to do, which opens the door for new treatments for sports injuries and for cancer and Parkinson’s disease. All this is possible by harnessing the Materials Science of glassy materials.
Hacking the skin's ability to cope under pressure
Dr Claire Higgins (Lecturer in the Department of Bioengineering (Imperial College London))
Pressure sores, otherwise known as bedsores, are severely debilitating for patients, and arise from soft tissue breakdown as a result of compressive and shear forces. Pressure sores are increasingly a problem in amputees, with sores arising from prosthetic use. One issue is that the skin on a stump, whilst regenerated, is not suitable for its new function, which is to be weight bearing. In this talk I will describe efforts ongoing in my lab to understand what makes skin weight bearing, and how we are using this knowledge to re-engineer stump skin to make it more effective at bearing load.