Explorer Grant (2017 funding round)

Dr Leandro Bolzoni
University of Waikato
Towards bone regeneration by developing electroactive hybrid materials
$150,000
24 months

Lay summary

Population aging is a worldwide phenomenon and the number of people in need of total joint replacement surgery is growing steadily. Current metallic implants are much stiffer than human bones and this causes osteoporosis and loosening of the implant; a revision surgery is then needed. The main approach of the scientific community is to decrease the intrinsic stiffness of the material but this also decreases the structural integrity of the prosthesis.

We propose to develop electroactive hybrid materials which could prevent osteoporosis as they are able to generate electrical stimuli in situ. Bones are composed of hydroxyapatite and thus are responsive to electrical stimuli. The use of powder metallurgy techniques for the formulation and fabrication of these novel hybrid materials permits us to locally tailor their composition and performances, and to obtain customisable implants with adjustable structural (e.g. strength) and functional (electrical stimulation) properties depending on the specific biomedical application.

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