The goal of this work is to develop synthetic alternatives to orthopaedic tissues such as bone, ligament, and cartilage. Once implanted, the presence of cells and growth factors will initiate bone regeneration throughout the 3-D pore network. As regeneration continues, the matrix is slowly resorbed by the body. Upon complete degradation, the implant site is filled with newly regenerated bone and free of any residual polymer.

Using the biodegradable polymer poly (lactide-co-glycolide), we have developed a series of 3-dimensional porous structures based on microsphere technology. In combination with bone morphogenetic proteins and osteoblasts, these matrices will serve as scaffolds for bone regeneration.

Our research also focuses on the development and evaluation of polyphosphazene-ceramic composites that could be used as scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.

In studies examining cell growth on these matrices, we have utilized an osteoblast cell lines as well as bone cells isolated from rat calvaria to create a model system for cell growth on bioerodable materials. This image shows osteoblasts growing on the surface of our 3-D microsphere matrix. It is interesting to note that the cells are growing in a circumferential pattern due to the structure of the matrix.