Based in a clinical department, the translation of fundamental science for patient benefit is of high importance. Applications are wide ranging, and aim to improve both diagnostics/assessment and treatment.
We are developing spectral imaging systems in the UV-Vis-NIR range for arthroscopy to improve and quantify intraoperative assessment, and to aid the delivery of early stage, localised treatments for osteoarthritis. Here, spectral 'signatures' of viable and non-viable tissue states can be overlaid on a standard video image to quickly and quantitatively characterise joint tissue.
New approaches to musculoskeletal MRI analysis are being developed, allowing comparisons of patient characteristics with early disease patterns identified in patient datasets. By automatically segmenting cartilage in 'physiological' scans such as T2 and dGEMRIC T1, and transforming geometry to a regular grid, we can identify MRI markers of progression from large cohort studies and apply them to everyday clinical decision making for individual patients.
New insights into structure-function relationships in joint tissues are being used to define new targets for treatments. In collaboration with researchers at GANIL and Universität Duisburg-Essen, we are developing and testing scalable surface nano structuring techniques for application to medical devices. By altering surface characteristics, stem cells can be directed to differentiate towards either cartilage or bone without requiring chemical input.
On a higher level of scale, advances in joint and tissue mechanics are being used to define structural targets for treatments such as high tibial osteotomy and engineered tissue replacements. Working with surgeons and collaborators in biomanufacturing, we aim to restore the natural function of joints and tissues while promoting tissue regeneration.