Engineering students Robert Adelson ‘18, Michael Bieniewicz ’18 and Matthew Linehan ’18 presented their research developing a hydrogel that can be used as a cartilage substitute at the 2nd Annual Mid-Atlantic Biomaterials Day hosted at Johns Hopkins University this month. James Muscarello ’18 also participated in the team’s research but was unable to attend the event.
The students created a gel system that matches the biomechanical properties of healthy human articular cartilage. It can be implanted onto the bone surface of patients suffering from cartilage degeneration. Their 3-minute rapid fire talk summarized the results of their senior design project, “Gel Therapy for Osteoarthritic Articular Cartilage Repair”.
“We were inspired by the lack of a widely used therapy for arthritis beyond medications and total or partial joint replacement,” Adelson said. “Many patients are ineligible for joint replacements due to metal allergies, heart conditions, and simply not having a poor enough prognosis to qualify.”
They conducted their research in the Cell and Tissue Engineering Lab using lab materials and purchased items such as eggs for protein cross-linking and pig bones for testing the treatment process.
“After our presentation, we had excellent discussions with leaders in biomaterials innovation, many of whom encouraged us to continue pursuing this project,” Adelson said. “One successful startup founder said we have a great working concept for a patent.”
Assistant Professors of Biomedical Engineering Nicholas Merna and Roche C. de Guzman mentored the students.
“I am sure they learned a lot from this experience: from gaining new research and technology ideas, to networking with students, professors, and industry representatives,” Dr. de Guzman said. “I hope they continue to excel at their work because the future of biomaterials and medical device product development is bright for dedicated and industrious students like them.”
The theme of this year’s conference was “Innovation and Advancement in Materials and Medicine” and featured lectures from industry leaders on recent advancements in biomedicine and technology.