With 12.1 percent of the U.S. population suffering from osteoarthritis and more than 13.5 million people experiencing daily joint pain, not only is tissue repair a prominent medical issue, but it also presents a problem with no simple solution. In an osteoarthritic (OA) knee the joint fluid (synovial fluid) may deplete and not provide the proper support as a healthy knee. Osteochondral (articular cartilage and subchondral bone) defects account for a majority of local knee defects which may result in osteoarthritis over a period of time.

On the molecular level, extra cellular matrix components such as type II collagen, type IX collagen, aggregan denature in addition to subchondral bone all effecting the mechanical integrity of the knee joint. With this in mind, our current research interests are focused on osteochondral tissue engineering tailored towards OA pathology. More specifically, my research thrusts are aimed at constructing novel thermoresponsive antioxidant injectable hybrid gels that will replace existing viscosupplementation treatment options and subsequently reduce reactive oxygen species by blocking the inflammatory response affiliated with OA.

Our research interest incorporate three foci to engineer the articular cartilage-subchondral bone interface:

  1. Design and preparation of thermo-sensitive hydrogels comprised of an antioxidant and hylauronic acid component with functional end groups for immobilizing proteins;
  2. The investigation the chondrogenic and osteogenic migration throughout 3D sol-gels under normal and hypoxic static conditions;
  3. The analysis of reactive oxygen species as a result of PVCL-a-tocopherol acrylate antioxidant hybrid copolymers sol-gels interaction at the cartilage-bone interface.
Additionally, we are investigating the extra cellular matrix of the cartilage-bone interface using Atomic Force Microscopy to further understand the nanoscale phenomenonan of type II collagen degradation.

Research Paradigm