April 1, 2013
Researchers in Germany and China have founded a Chinese-German nanotechnology and biomedicine center to develop bio-inspired bone replacement materials and medications for bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.
This Chinese-German Center will be jointly led by Professor Dr. Werner E. G. Müller of the Institute of Physiological Chemistry at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), Germany, and Shuwen Dong of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing.
The researchers involved in this new Joint Center will collaborate on the investigation of bio-inspired materials, in other words, on substances that mimic those structures and functions fabricated by marine animals.
Research shows that those simple organisms, such as marine sponges, are remarkably similar to humans in many ways. In addition, these organisms produce a variety of substances that researchers hope to mimic the process and use the synthetic materials in humans, for example for the treatment of viral infections.
"The inorganic structures of certain deep-sea organisms, such as sponges, are based on genetic blueprints. We will use those blueprints to develop synthetic bone replacement materials. Specifically and together with our Chinese partners, we are looking to create bio-inspired scaffolds from biosilica in the laboratory that can function as a basis for bone repair," explained Professor Dr. Werner E. G. Müller. According to the molecular biologist, intelligent organic and inorganic materials could have impressive properties, such as self-repair.
Coinciding with the launch of the Joint Center, Müller and his Chinese colleagues have received nearly EUR 2 million funding from the European Union (EU) to develop customized rapid prototyping of bioactive scaffolds using applying 3D printing.
"Using 3D printing technology, we plan to develop tailor-made implants that make it possible to precisely correct a tissue defect and also to restore stability," says Müller.
The Joint Center has been established for a period of ten years. In addition to this research for bio-inspired materials, the center will also conduct research in other areas, such as the development of intelligent inorganic/organic hybrid materials with novel optical and mechanical properties that have technical applications and can be used, for example, in sensors.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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