Musculoskeletal tissue engineering

University of Edinburgh

Dr Jennifer Paxton runs a research lab at the University of Edinburgh, focussing on musculoskeletal tissue engineering, in particular methods to engineer bone tissue, tendon tissue and the bone-tendon interface.

We have funded two of her projects – the first was for a PHD studentship to look into tendon repair and in particular the connections that the tendon has with the bone and how this interface, especially for people who had suffered sports injuries, could be made stronger to withstand the pressures and the stresses of activity. Working with a hand surgeon, Dr Paxton’s team researched the design of a bespoke tissue engineered implant.

The second project explores the role of mechanical stimulation in impacting the interface between bone and tendon. Dr Paxton’s team is working with engineers to build a bioreactor system to mimic the movement of muscle contraction to see if they can get more of an anatomical interfacial structure to be formed, including cartilage, which will be the key to make these tissue engineered structures a lot more like the native anatomy.

According to Dr Paxton, ‘ORUK has been very supportive of a younger career researchers like me. It has been great to have people that put faith in you, rather than always going for the big groups and big universities. I would not be in the position I am now, has it not been for the support of ORUK.’

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