Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Lab Report: Biomaterials in Surgical Implants

Photograph by Douglas Fraser.

Thayer faculty have teamed up with researchers at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) for a $20-million National Science Foundation-funded project to develop innovative approaches to the design and manufacturing of biomaterials in implants and tissue engineering. 

The UNH-based “NH-Biomade” project is aimed at supporting the state’s rapidly growing biomaterials industry through research, capacity building, education and academic-industrial partnerships. 

“This is a true collaboration of two institutions, where we are leveraging the resources and expertise at our respective institutions to advance research that has the potential to vastly improve a patient’s quality of life,” says Ian Baker, senior associate dean for academic affairs and co-principal investigator on this project. 

The project will focus on the development of biomaterials that can replace parts or enhance functions within the human body, for instance composites that can replace a fractured skull, biosensors that can help better detect a body’s reactions to chemicals, or microscopic polymeric scaffolds in tissue engineering to replace damaged tissues. The key, Baker says, is to better understand and develop materials that are both cost-effective and work seamlessly within the human body. 

“This project represents an incredible opportunity to capitalize on the expertise of UNH and Dartmouth faculty in a way that truly benefits the entire state,” said Douglas Van Citters, associate professor of engineering and a co-principal investigator on the project. “I’m excited to work with the entire team to help establish the infrastructure that will eventually help translate a broad spectrum of ideas into clinically useful products.” 

Along with Baker and Van Citters, Dartmouth chemistry professors Katherine Mirica and Chengfeng Ke will also co-lead or support major areas of research for this project with UNH faculty. 

—Eun Lee Koh '00

Categories: The Great Hall, Lab Reports, Research

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