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Tissue Engineering Virtual Lab

Help out a desperate soccer player who has been badly injured. Will you able to help the sports physician in using the tissue engineering technique to restore damaged articular cartilage?

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Tissue Engineering

About this Simulation

Despite the notorious diving and fake foul in a soccer game, players are prone to serious injuries. One of the most common injuries is damaged articular cartilage in the knee. Cartilages cannot self-repair, and thus need replacement. In the Tissue Engineering simulation, you will learn the required elements of synthesizing a tissue for cartilage replacement. Will you able to produce hydrogels for repairing the articular cartilage?

Finding the essential elements in tissue engineering

You will be introduced to a sports physician who needs your help in treating an injured soccer player. In this simulation, you will learn three principle elements of tissue engineering and apply them to produce the scaffold of articular cartilage replacement. You will also explore the characteristics of two polymers that you will be using in creating the hydrogel scaffold throughout the experiment.

Synthesizing hydrogels scaffold

You will perform two crosslinking experiment, ionic and Michael addition method, to create the hydrogels scaffold. You will have to choose the polymers you want to use in the experiment based on what you’ve learned in the previous mission. At the end of each experiment, you will watch the chemical or physical reaction between the polymers that take place inside the hardening hydrogels.

Analyzing the mechanical properties of hydrogels

Finally, you will have obtained several hydrogels scaffolds that have been created using different crosslinking methods. Using a rheology approach, you will analyze the mechanical properties of each hydrogel. This virtual lab is equipped with a rheology simulator which will enable you to experiment with a various combination of parameters such as crosslinking method, polymer concentration, and temperature. In the end, you will have to decide which combination of polymer and crosslinking method is most suitable for the articular cartilage replacement. Will you able to ease the soccer player’s suffering?

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Explain the basic principle of tissue engineering

  • Describe the articular cartilage injuries and its treatment

  • Define the types of crosslinking to synthesize hydrogels:

  • Ionic crosslinking

  • Michael addition crosslinking

  • Enzymatic crosslinking

  • Radical crosslinking

  • Identify natural and synthetic polymers

  • Analyze the synthesized hydrogels’ mechanical properties using rheology.

Techniques in Lab

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Rheology
  • Ionic crosslinking
  • Michael addition crosslinking

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