Postdoctoral Research Associate, Bioengineering and Healthcare Technologies Group,School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield
Prof Alastair Sloan, Dr Wayne Nishio Ayre and Mr Jabur Khan The Mineralised Tissue Group, Dental School, Cardiff University
The purpose of the placement was to develop an ex vivo bone infection model to screen antimicrobial and osteogenic bone regeneration materials. The Mineralised Tissue Group at Cardiff University has considerable experience of developing these models so a 3 week placement was undertaken to in order to understand the methods involved in the development of ex vivo models.
Prof Alastair Sloan and Dr Wayne Nishio Ayre arranged that I could work with Mr Jabur Khan, a PhD student currently developing an ex vivo bone infection model. During the first week Jabur demonstrated the ex vivo bone infection model that he is currently developing and trained me in the various techniques including the sectioning of the bone and the setting up of Trowell-type cultures which are essential for keeping the bone viable whilst preventing excessive migration of the cells out of the bone. Jabur also showed me the immunohistological techniques he is currently optimising to be able to assess the distribution of biomarkers in the bone models. Furthermore, I observed the setting up of other ex vivo models including a model to assess the viability of the gingiva in a mandible culture model which Dr Amr Alraies is currently researching.
Over the next two weeks I was able to set up my own ex vivo cultures in order to investigate the effect of the dual action bone paste currently under development by the research team at The University of Sheffield. It was very useful to get hands on experience setting up the model as well as investigating different methods to apply the paste to the model. I assessed my models using viability assays and histological techniques. My lab work went very smoothly which was in part due to the fantastic technical support staff at the School of Dentistry, University of Cardiff. The laboratory managers and technicians including Dr Fiona Gagg, Dr Sarah Youde and Ms Wendy Rowe all provided excellent inductions and support material, which allowed me to work in the laboratories with ease and confidence.
I was very pleased with the consistency of the data from the assays I carried out, and I would say this was my professional highlight of the visit. My personal highlights were some lovely sunny lunches in the small nature haven provided directly outside the entrance of the University Hospital of Wales (see picture). Due to the success of this placement we are now looking forward to establishing future collaborative projects between the Mineralised Tissue Group at Cardiff University and the Bioengineering and Healthcare Technologies Group at The University of Sheffield.