Student Profile

Nicky Foster

PhD Project Title:  TBA

PhD Supervisor(s): Professor Alicia El Haj


PhD Summary

Human embryonic stem cells will be differentiated towards a chondrogenic lineage, using a protocol supplied by Manchester University. These cells will then be seeded into fibrin hydrogels, stimulated with hydrostatic pressure and the resulting construct will be assessed for chondrogenic markers. Initially, the project will focus on optimising the hydrogels for the best fibrin concentration and cell seeding density. After this point, the gels will be inserted into a chick femur cartilage defect model and stimulated with hydrostatic pressure in order to assess their potential to stimulate cartilaginous repair in vivo, which is a novel approach. Further work will involve optimising hydrostatic pressure regimes and repeating the work with different cell types or with undifferentiated stem cells. In addition, cells will be labelled with magnetic nanoparticles, used to make both pellets and fibrin hydrogels and magnetically stimulated. The constructs will then be assessed for chondrogenic markers in the same way as the hydrostatically-stimulated constructs.

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