PhD defence M.L. (Letizia) Vainieri


Prof. dr. G.J.V.M. van Osch


Dr. S. Grad

Thursday 18 Feb 2021, 10:30 - 12:00
PhD defence
Senate Hall
Erasmus Building
Campus Woudestein
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On Thursday 18 February 2021, M.L. Vainieri will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Towards Cartilage Regeneration: Biomaterial-assisted Cell-free Approach in a Physiological Joint-like Environment’.

Articular cartilage injury poses a significant clinical challenge in orthopaedics. This tissue does not spontaneously heal and injuries tend to progress towards the degenerative path of osteoarthritis, which is one of the major causes of disability in the aging population. Since in vivo models only provide a limited insight as for the mechanisms behind regeneration processes, a particular attention is needed to development of ex vivo models to allow a better understand of the tune modulation of different signals that influence cellular decision making and promote cartilage remodeling. The main objective of the research is to improve the quality of the cartilage tissue using an injectable hydrogel.

To achieve this, an ideal hydrogel was first selected for the ability to support cell ingrowth and the formation of a cartilage tissue. Then a laboratory model was set up in which dynamical load was applied to the injectable hydrogel to investigate cellular mechano-transduction on the generation of a cartilaginous network. To closely resemble the joint microenvironment, a mechanically stimulated osteochondral defect model was developed, as would happen in a joint while walking. In order to further mimic the environment of the joint, the gel was applied in a damage that was previously created in the cartilage of a bovine joint obtained from the slaughterhouse. With this laboratory model, hydrogels and biomolecules were tested for their ability to promote the intrinsic repair capacity of the tissues in the body, under conditions similar to a joint without the use of laboratory animals.

Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall or in the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defend their dissertation either in a small group or online.

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