ChEMS Seminar: Calcium Phosphate - A David Among Goliaths in the Realm of Materials for Regeneration of Osseous Tissues

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)
Vuk Uskoković, Ph.D.
Department of Bioengineering
Advanced Materials and Nanobiotechnology Laboratory
University of Illinois 
Chicago, Illinois
Abstract: The demand for a new generation of bone replacement materials has never been higher, given that more than 2 million bone graft operations are performed annually worldwide and that this number is on a constant increase due to the aging population on Earth. The age-old principle similia similibus curantur, dictating the substitution of like with like, is expected to apply in every aspect of tissue engineering, including the hard tissues province. Correspondingly, despite their ostensible limitations and deficiencies, calcium phosphate nanoparticles are likely to present essential and irreplaceable components for the next generation of biomaterials in bone engineering. Presented will be the results on studies utilizing calcium phosphate and calcium-phosphate/polymer composites as prospective materials for the regeneration of boney tissues. Examples will include the effects of morphology, topography, phase composition, foreign ion inclusion and surface charge on an array of physicochemical and biological properties relevant for the given application. A particular emphasis will be placed on composite nanostructured materials for advanced bone infection therapies. Demonstrated will be the effective use of calcium phosphates for the intracellular delivery of genetic material and antibiotic molecules. In conclusion, reiterated will be the idea that multicomponent, synergetic and multifunctional nanostructures are the most prospective types of materials for tissue engineering in general. However, in spite of the strivings towards complexity in the design of advanced materials for substitution of bone tissues, the potential of their elemental mineral component, calcium phosphate, remains largely untapped and the chemistry of this simple, yet elusive compound can be said to still conceal wonderful little treasures within.
Biography: Vuk Uskoković is the Director of the Advanced Materials and Nanobiotechnology Laboratory and an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His research has been focused on the application of soft and colloidal chemistry techniques for the purpose of creating nanoscale materials for biomedical applications, including targeted and controlled drug delivery, bone tissue engineering and advanced antimicrobial and anticancer therapies. In the biomedical domain, his research has contributed to the fields of hyperthermia treatment of cancer, atherosclerosis, enamel regeneration, oral and sustained drug delivery, and bone engineering. At the University of Illinois, Uskoković teaches senior and graduate courses on Materials in Biomedical Engineering and Nanotechnologies. Uskoković’s prior appointment was with the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, where he was a principal investigator and an NIH Pathway to Independence fellow from 2011 to 2014. His former affiliations include the Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, the Center for Advanced Materials Processing at Clarkson University, Advanced Materials Department of Jožef Stefan Institute, and the Institute of Technical Sciences at the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. From 2011 he has been a principal investigator on a grant funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Uskoković has authored 40 peer-reviewed research articles and an equal number of critical reviews and book chapters. He is the former president of numerous academic associations of postdoctoral scholars and the recipient of the innovation certificate by the American Chemical Society. The Advanced Materials and Nanobiotechnology Laboratory, which Uskoković is the director of, began its work on February 2015 and currently numbers one visiting research assistant professor, three PhD students and three master students.