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Smart Biomaterials for Regenerative Engineering
Start Date: 4/21/2021Start Time: 4:00 PM
End Date: 4/21/2021End Time: 5:30 PM
Event Description
BIOMED Seminar

Smart Biomaterials for Regenerative Engineering

Peter I. Lelkes, PhD
Laura H. Carnell Professor and Chair
Department of Bioengineering
College of Engineering
Temple University

The current dogma of regenerative tissue engineering relies on the combined action of exogenous cells, scaffolds, and growth factors to "restore, maintain, or improve or regenerate functions.“ In this context, synthetic polymers have found widespread application as permissive scaffolding biomaterials to support three-dimensional tissue constructs, which upon maturation ex vivo can be implanted into the recipient host. In this presentation, I want to discuss an alternative regenerative approach using smart engineered natural biomaterials, as is, or as nano-composites, that show regenerative capacity without the need for added exogenous (stem) cells or growth factors. This approach is based on two principles that have recently emerged as key components for regenerative engineering:

1. Natural biomaterials, or their degradation products, contain inductive biological cues, which are frequently missing in synthetic polymers.
2. The surface topography, specifically the nanoscale surface roughness of biological scaffolds can act as a physical tool to direct cell differentiation (fate decision) in vitro and/or induce the regenerative process in vivo.

In this presentation, I will first give an overview of the four generations of biomaterials and scaffolds, with examples for each of these generations from inert to smart materials and scaffolds. Focusing on smart biomaterials and scaffolds, I will describe novel biomanufacturing processes for turning smart biomaterials into smart, regenerative scaffolds. Specifically, I will highlight electroprocessing as a platform technology for generating nanofibrous scaffolds from a variety of natural and composite biomaterials and discuss some of the inductive cues entailed in electrospun fibrous scaffolds that mimic the nano-topography of the natural extracellular matrix. I will present several case studies from our laboratory that might provide cell-free regenerative solutions to unmet clinical problems, such as the repair of critical-size calvarial bone defects, cutaneous wound healing, and regenerative endodontics. The availability of “cell-free” bioactive, biological systems, in which bioactive scaffolds can be manufactured, sterilized, transported, stored, and applied without the precautions required for systems containing live cells, is of great translational advantage. Finally, I will address the question, how smart a smart scaffold has to be to be of clinical and translational relevance.

Peter I. Lelkes, PhD, is, since January 1, 2012, the Laura H. Carnell Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Bioengineering in the College of Engineering at Temple University and the Inaugural Director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering (TIME) at Temple University’s School of Medicine. At Temple University, Dr. Lelkes is also a Professor of Mechanical Engineering (Dept. of Mechanical Engineering), Regenerative Endodontics (School of Dentistry), Surgery (School of Medicine), and Cancer Biology (Fox Chase Cancer Center). From 2000-2011, he was the Calhoun Chair Professor for Cellular Tissue Engineering in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Lelkes obtained his PhD in Biophysics in 1977 from the Technical University (RWTH) Aachen, Germany, one of Europe’s Elite Universities. From 1977-1983, he was a postdoctoral fellow and then staff scientist in the Department of Membrane Research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, working on membrane fusion, exocytosis, and mechanisms of neurosecretion. He continued his studies as Visiting Scientist in the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics, NIDDK (NIH) from 1983-1988, focusing on heterotypic interactions between endocrine cells and endothelial cells. From 1988-2000, as Director of the Laboratory of Cell Biology in the Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Dr. Lelkes developed a new program in vascular biology and biotechnology, focusing on the endothelialization of artificial cardiovascular devices.

At Temple University, Dr. Lelkes directs an interdisciplinary program in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, focusing on nanotechnology-based smart biomaterials and smart scaffolds and for engineering diverse issues, such as bone, lung and skin. In his approach to regenerative engineering, Dr. Lelkes and his colleagues employ developmental biological principles and advanced bioreactor technology to direct and optimize the tissue-specific differentiation of embryonic and adult pluripotent stem cells.

Dr. Lelkes’ basic and translational research has been support by federal (NIH, NSF, NASA, DOE) and state funding agencies (NTI and PA Dept. of Commerce, Tobacco Settlement Funds), as well as by private foundations, including the Neilsen Foundation and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation. At Drexel, Dr. Lelkes served as Director of the Surgical Engineering Enterprise, one of the major of initiatives of the strategic plan of Drexel University’s College of Medicine. In addition, Dr. Lelkes has been the team leader for tissue engineering at the Nanotechnology Institute of Southeastern Pennsylvania (NTI). He was also the Co-Director of PATRIC, the Pennsylvania Advanced Textile Research and Innovation Center, focusing on BioNanoTextiles and Stem Cell Biology. Dr. Lelkes has organized several Keystone conferences. He has published more than 220 peer-reviewed papers (Hirsch-Index - 52), edited several books, authored ca. 60 book chapters, and made more than 300 presentations nationally and internationally. Over his career, Dr. Lelkes has been awarded more than $18 million in research funding.

Dr. Lelkes has been received numerous honors and awards, nationally and internationally. Amongst them a Forchheimer Visiting Fellowship at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Honorary Professorships at The University of Applied Sciences Aachen, Germany, and the Changchun Institute of Polymer Chemistry and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences; and a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering at Imperial College, London, UK. In 2011, he was inducted as a Fellow of the AIMBE (American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering) and received the 2012 Ben Franklin Key Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 2020, he was elected Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).

In his “free-time,” Dr. Lelkes is an active chamber musician and likes to hike in the mountains.
Contact Information:
Name: Lisa Williams
Peter I. Lelkes
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