Grant received to apply microtools to bone regeneration research

Through a casual meeting, researchers from Linköping University and Okayama University are now collaborating on better understanding of how bone regeneration works.

Three years ago, Dr Edwin Jager met Prof Hiroshi Kamioka and Dr Emilio Hara in Japan, where they found a common interest. Prof Kamioka and Dr Hara were researching in bone growth, while Dr Jager's interest was in soft microrobotics and bioelectronic chips. The researchers from Okayama university needed a way to stimulate the osteocytes mechanically. Osteocytes are essential for bone remodeling, and Dr Jager realized he maybe had the tools Prof Kamioko and Dr Hara needed to continue their research.
– By mechanically stimulating the osteocytes we can learn in more detail how these cells orchestrate bone remodeling. This knowledge can then aid us to better control bone regeneration, says Dr Jager.

The two teams started to collaborate from a distance testing the microactuators and bio-chips in bone research. Continued talks, mostly via internet, led them to apply for a joint research project.
– We quickly realized that we could generate new knowledge in this interface between microtechnology and bone research and decided that we needed to collaborate more closely on this project, says Dr Edwin Jager. Photo credit Olov Planthaber

The project, led by Dr Edwin Jager has now received a mobility grant from STINT. The STINT grant, with a corresponding grant from JSPS on the Japanese end, will allow for a more intensive research where the two research groups can physically meet. LiU and OU will exchange research staff for the project, financed by the grant.
– It is always much easier to understand a problem standing in a lab, looking at it, and talking in person to your colleagues, says Jager.

What is it that you are aiming to investigate within this project?
– There are two parts to this project. First, we will try to increase our understanding in the mechanics of cell responses to external mechanical stimuli and signal transduction. Second, we will investigate how in vitro nanofragments can be used for bone tissue engineering, says Edwin Jager.

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