Osteoporosis causes 8.9 million fragile fractures a year worldwide, which often result in non-unions and require either autologous or allogeneic grafting. Complications associated with these procedures, such as morbidity of the donor site and rejection of the implant, drive bone tissue engineering. Protocols for dynamic, 3D cell cultures, able to produce viable and sufficiently large tissue constructs, are investigated. Mathematical modelling is a useful tool in this process, highlighting the balance of chemical (nutrients) and mechanical (shear force) factors in the cell culture environment. The title of the research project is “Optimizing Manufacture Conditions for Production of 3D Bone Tissue using a Combination of Mathematical Modelling and Experimentation”. Analytical and computational fluid dynamics approaches are to be used, alongside a mathematical model on the metabolism of osteoblasts and mesenchymal stem cells. These aim to inform on the optimal oxygen levels, flow of nutrients and shear stress stimulation required to produce viable bone tissue in sufficiently large quantities in vitro. Experimental verification will be performed for a fully predictive cell-type specific model.
Iva obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering (BEng) from the University of Warwick with First-class honours. She undertook modules in Biomedical Engineering and Biomedical Materials and worked on projects with topics ranging from intraocular lens replacement, to evaluating different manufacturing techniques for hard tissue scaffolds to be used in tissue engineering, to designing a finger joint replacement. As part of her third year project, under the supervision of Professor David Greenwood and Mr Howard Neal, she investigated different joining methods between metal and composite materials in the chassis of a Student Formula race car. Her research experience includes participating in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition under the guidance of Professor Alfonso Jaramillo. The research aimed to create a novel sRNA therapy method modelled after the replication process observed in the Hepatitis C virus. Upon completion of the project, she represented the University of Warwick at a conference in Boston, USA.