Degree Objective: Ph.D. Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Changchun City, Jilin Province, China
Prior Degrees: M.Sc. Biochemical Engineering, B.Sc. Biological Engineering
Prior Graduate Institution: University College London
Undergraduate Institution: Beijing Institute of Technology
Inspired from biological systems, small synthetic organic molecules expressing the hydrogen bonding arrays of DNA bases guanine and cytosine were prepared and their self-assembly into rosette nanotubes (RNTs) was investigated. Due to their unique biological, physicochemical, and mechanical properties, RNTs could serve as the next generation of injectable orthopedic materials. In this study, a self-assembling module (termed TBL) was synthesized and the corresponding RNTs were used as bioactive components in composites of poly (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA) and hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles (termed TBL/HA/pHEMA). The properties of these composites were characterized for solidification time, surface morphology, mechanical properties, and cytocompatibility. The experimental conditions were optimized to achieve solidification within 2–40 min offering a range of properties for orthopedic applications. Composites with 20 wt% HA nanoparticles had a compressive strength (37.1 MPa) and ultimate tensile stress (14.7 MPa) similar to that of a natural vertebral disc (5–30 MPa). Specifically, TBL(0.01 mg/ml)/HA(20 wt%)/pHEMA composite improved long-term functions of osteoblasts in terms of collagen synthesis, alkaline phosphatase activity and calcium deposition. Moreover, this composite inhibited fibroblast adhesion thus decreasing the potential for undesirable fibrous tissue formation. In summary, this in vitro study provided evidence that TBL/HA/pHEMA composites are promising injectable orthopedic implant materials that warrant further mechanistic and in vivo studies.