Tissue losses and organ failures result in more than 8 million surgical procedures each year in the United States. Current therapies for these disorders are seriously limited. Our laboratory takes a biomimetic approach to design polymers into body-part templates (scaffolds) to engineer tissues/organs. The scaffolds are designed to take the form of the missing/damaged body parts, to mimic certain advantageous aspects of natural extracellular matrix, and to contain certain designed structural features to enhance tissue regeneration. To mimic bone matrix, biodegradable polymer/nano-hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds have been developed. To mimic the nano-fibrous architecture of collagen, synthetic nano-fibrous scaffolds have been developed. To optimize scaffolding function, a variety of macropore networks have been designed in the nano-fibrous materials. These novel nano-structured scaffolds enhance cell adhesion and function. Surface engineering and biological delivery in the nano-fibrous scaffolds are shown to improve cellular interactions and tissue formation. These experimental results demonstrate that the biomimetic template design is a powerful approach for tissue regeneration.

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