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Close up of cells

Understanding tissue signatures and cell-biomaterial interactions to improve soft tissue repair

The Snelling group focuses on developing and delivering physiologically-informed biomaterial-based repair strategies for diseased soft tissues including tendons, ligaments, cartilage and synovium.  We have ongoing, well-curated access to carefully phenotyped tissues leveraged through our ongoing work with Andrew Carr. This unique tissue access enables us to interrogate and define the molecular and cellular signatures of tissue health and disease. These signatures provide critical metrics for our work testing and translating biomaterials for both surgical repair and in vitro models of disease. 


Key ongoing projects within our group include:

The Tendon Seed Network 

The Tendon Seed Network aims to deliver spatially resolved transcriptomic maps of healthy human tendons to the Human Cell Atlas. We are using single nuclei RNAseq, Spatial Transcriptomics and Extracellular Matrix analysis methods to map tendons across multiple anatomical and microanatomical sites. 

Inflammation and fibrosis in osteoarthritis

Synovial inflammation and fibrosis is a hallmark of OA. This work aims to define the critical cellular drivers of synovial inflammation and fibrosis in OA and to understand their effect on the whole joint organ. In combination with our biomaterials work we aim to assess how biophysical cues can mediate the effects of these critical drivers of synovial inflammation and inform development of in vitro models of OA.  

Cell-Biomaterial Interactions for Soft Tissue Repair

Surgical repair of diseased tendon and ligaments is prone to failure. We utilise biomimetic, electrospun biomaterials that modify the activity of endogenous immune and stromal cells from diseased and healthy tendons and ligaments. We are investigating how modifying the chemistry and topography of electrospun biomaterials can modify inflammation to drive non-fibrotic repair of these musculoskeletal soft tissues.


Related research themes