Group name: Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Research Group

Group leader: Chengtie Wu

Location: Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Further information:

Professor Chengtie Wu
Professor Chengtie Wu
The Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Research Group.
The Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Research Group.
Illustration of 3D printed scaffolds for tumor therapy and bone regeneration.
Illustration of 3D printed scaffolds for tumor therapy and bone regeneration.
Photo of 3D printed scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.
Photo of 3D printed scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.

Lab profile: Chengtie Wu, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

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Helping the body to repair or regenerate damaged tissue and bone would revolutionize medical treatment. But such a strategy relies on the use of biomaterial scaffolds that encourage and guide regrowing tissue and bone.

Chengtie Wu and his group at the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SIC, CAS) are hoping to develop functional biomaterials that can achieve exactly this but which can be prepared using familiar and well-established fabrication techniques.

During his career at SIC, Chengtie Wu has received recognition from the Recruitment Program of Global Young Experts of China (One-Thousand Young Talent Program), Shanghai Pujiang Talent Program, and Shanghai Outstanding Academic Leaders. Among his other commitments, he is Associate Editor of the Elsevier journal Applied Materials Today.

Chengtie Wu talked to Materials Today about his research and future plans…

How long has your group been running?

The group was found in 2000 and has been running for 17 years.

How many staff makes up your group?

There are 11 permanent staff and 30 PhD/Master students.

What are the major themes of research in your lab?

The major research theme in our lab is the development of high performance biomaterials for bone regeneration, wound healing, and tumor therapy. Biomaterials play a key role in the regeneration of lost tissue and defects. However, how to design biomaterials that satisfy the requirements of stimulating tissue regeneration still remains a challenge. To solve this issue, our major aim is to design and prepare functional biomaterials using universal material strategies (e.g. chemical synthesis, 3D printing, electrospinning, etc.) and investigate the mechanism of tissue regeneration stimulation, as well as promote the translational application of biomaterials. 

How and why did you come to work in these areas?

Biomaterials and regenerative medicine are promising research areas, which could solve key clinical issues facing the elderly and those affected by disease or accidents. I studied material science and engineering for my bachelors’ degree. I first encountered biomaterials when I started my masters. Biomaterials science appeared to be taking a new direction in interdisciplinary research at the intersection of materials science, chemistry, biology, and medicine. While I was studying for my PhD, the biomaterials developed in our lab were used in clinical applications to help a lot of patients. It seems to me, therefore, that it is of great interest and significance to conduct research related to biomaterials and regenerative medicine that can really help people. 

What has been your highest impact/most influential work to date?

I think the most interesting work that we have done so far is the development of a new kind of scaffold using 3D printing, which can be used for bone tumor therapy and bone defect regeneration. Bone is easily metastasized by different kinds of cancers. So to deal with bone defects resulting from surgery, biomaterials with good bone-forming ability are necessary. Meanwhile, in order to prevent possible tumor recurrence, it is essential that the remaining tumor cells around bone defects be completely killed. However, there are few biomaterials possessing such bifunctions for both cancer therapy and bone regeneration until now. We prepared scaffolds with the dual functions of tumor therapy and tissue regeneration using a combination of 3D printing and surface modification. Our work offers a promising strategy to construct bifunctional biomaterials that could be widely used in therapies for tumor-induced tissue defects. 

What facilities and equipment does your lab have?

Our lab has a 3D printer, electrospinning system, universal mechanical testing machine, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES), cell culture facilities, confocal microscope, micro-CT (micro-computer tomography) scanner for 3D X-ray imaging, and sliding microtome.

Do you have a favorite piece of kit or equipment?

My favorite piece of equipment is our 3D printer because it gives us a skilled strategy to develop smart scaffolds for tissue engineering.

What is the key to running a successful lab?

To run a successful lab, it is important to maintain continuous research innovation and a dedicated team. On the one hand, we try to explore new directions by incorporating new knowledge and collaborating with other labs; on the other hand, we have close collaborations with hospitals and industry to transform our research outcomes into real treatments. We have a 40-person team where everyone has a clear responsibility to achieve the collective aim.

How do you plan to develop your lab in the future?

We will continue to strengthen our basic research related to biomaterials and tissue engineering, while improving the translational aspect of our work. We hope that more and more biomaterials developed in our lab will be used in clinical applications to help patients. 

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Key publications

  1. H. Ma, C. Jiang, D. Zhai, Y. Luo, Y. Chen, F. Lv, Z. Yi, Y. Deng, J. Wang, J. Chang, C. Wu. A bifunctional biomaterial with photothermal effect for tumor therapy and bone regeneration. Advanced Functional Materials 26 (2016) 1197-1208.
  2. H. Ma, J. Luo, Z. Sun, L. Xia, M. Shi, M. Liu, J. Chang, C. Wu. 3D Printing of biomaterials with mussel-inspired nanostructures for tumor therapy and tissue regeneration. Biomaterials 111 (2016) 138-148.
  3. Y. Zhou, M. Shi, J. R. Jones, Z. Chen, J. Chang, C. Wu, Y. Xiao. Strategies to direct vascularization using mesoporous bioactive glass-based biomaterials for bone regeneration. International Materials Reviews (2017) doi: 10.1080/09506608.2016.1266744.
  4. Z. Chen, T. Klein, R. Z. Murray, R. Crawford, J. Chang, C. Wu, Y. Xiao. Osteoimmunomodulation for the development of advanced bone biomaterials. Materials Today 19(6) (2016) 304-321.
  5. C. Wu, Z. Chen, Q. Wu, D. Yi, T. Friis, X. Zheng, J. Chang, X. Jiang, Y. Xiao. Clinoenstatite coatings have high bonding strength, bioactive ion release, and osteoimmunomodulatory effects that enhance in vivo osseointegration. Biomaterials 71 (2015) 35-47.
  6. Z. Chen, J. Yuen, R. Crawford, J. Chang, C. Wu, Y. Xiao. The effect of osteoimmunomodulation on the osteogenic effects of cobalt incorporated β-tricalcium phosphate. Biomaterials 61 (2015) 126-138.
  7. Y. Wu, S. Zhu, C. Wu, P. Lu, C. Hu, S. Xiong, J. Chang, B. C. Heng, Y. Xiao, H. W. Ouyang. A bi-lineage conducive scaffold for osteochondral defect regeneration. Advanced Functional Materials 24 (2014) 4473-4483.
  8. Z. Chen, C. Wu, W. Gu, T. Klein, R. Crawford, Y. Xiao. Osteogenic differentiation of bone marrow MSCs by β-tricalcium phosphate stimulating macrophages via BMP2 signaling pathway. Biomaterials 35 (2014) 1507-1518.
  9. C. Wu, Y. Zhou, M. Xu, P. Han, L. Chen, J. Chang, Y. Xiao. Copper-containing mesoporous bioactive glass scaffolds with multifunctional properties of angiogenesis capacity, osteostimulation and antibacterial activity. Biomaterials 34 (2013) 422-433.
  10. C. Wu, Y. Zhou, W. Fan, P. Han, J. Chang, J. Yuen, M. Zhang, Y. Xiao. Hypoxia-mimicking mesoporous bioactive glass scaffolds with controllable cobalt ion release for bone tissue engineering. Biomaterials 33 (2012) 2076-2085.