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BlogSpot: Joint Virtual Conference 24-25th June 2020

Dr Caroline S. Taylor, PDRA, University of Sheffield

My research in peripheral nerve repair (PNR) was featured at the joint UKSB/CDT conference. I delivered a 3 minute flash presentation about the potential of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) as scaffold materials for PNR and was delighted to receive the runner up prize. PHAs are an attractive material of choice in tissue engineering as they are biocompatible, biodegradable and elimate concerns used with other FDA approved synthetic polymers. Using a novel ex vivo nerve injury model, a combination of 3D printing and electrospinning, different materials, and fibre diameters, can be investigated for PNR with medium throughput. PHAs were significantly better at promoting longer neurite outgrowth distances, and Schwann cell migration distances, from Dorsal root ganglia, compared to a polycaprolactone control.

Image of my flash presentation and schematic diagram of the 3D ex vivo model used to test different material scaffolds.

The virtual conference was absolutely brilliant. It was well organised, ran smoothly and a variety of topics in Biomaterials and tissue engineering were discussed. The conference began with a talk from the key note speaker Prof Liam Grover who talked about his work using additive manufacturing techniques in areas of bone/cartilage and skin regeneration, and cornea repair. Two sessions ran parallel to each other after the key note talk, in which I attended clinical applications 1, followed by the poster discussion session. I particularly enjoyed clinical applications 2, on day 2 of the conference, and the talks by Jessica Wiseman and Simon C. Kellaway.  Jessica’s talk highlighted the use of neurosurgical grade biomaterial Duragen PlusTM, containing collagen type 1, to repair traumatic spinal cord injury and Simon’s talk used an alternative approach to PNR engineering Neural Tissue from Decellularised Biomaterials. Both these talks compliment my own research in PNR. Overall, the virtual conference was a huge success and I would like to thank the organisers for including my work in the programme.


Caroline submitted the blog as part of the conference competition. She has been selected and has won herself an intensive 2-day training course in lyphilisation sponsered by Biopharma Group. Well done!

Dr Paul Roach, UKSB President

Banner caption: SH-SY5Y stained with actin and DAPI
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