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Nilly Hojatoleslami

Generating bone tissue for use in in-vitro models of osteoarthritis.


Project supervisors

Project description

Osteoarthritis is a musculoskeletal condition affecting the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. Around 10 million people in the UK suffer from the condition. Drug companies need to find the most effective tests with the smallest costs. They need to experiment on medicines in development for patients

I am creating the bone component of the bone cartilage interface in-vitro for initial drug tests for human osteoarthritis. I am producing in-vitro bone tissue for use in in-vitro models of osteoarthritis. This is a prelude to developing an in-vitro of bone-cartilage (osteochondral) models.

I have focused on developing methods to create the bone component that will form part of an in-vitro osteochondral model. I will eventually model the progression of osteoarthritis. The pharmaceutical industry will find such models invaluable in drug testing.

I am using several innovative manufacturing techniques. I will determine the best method of producing the required scaffolds (bone component). I will incorporate biomaterials and cells together in developing an osteochondral model.

I am exploring bioprinting to print hydrogels which contain cells to help mimic the cartilage component.

I am generating porous scaffolds using a glass ceramic (Apatite Wollastonite). I am basing this on the Thermally Induced Phase Separation (TIPS) technique. I have developed the bone element of this model using TIPS of glass ceramics.

The scaffold structure plays an important role in generating the final bone component. I have generated 3D scaffolds of different patterns and pore sizes. I explored the use of different temperatures and material compositions. The scaffolds have good level of interconnected pores. This encourages cell adhesion and proliferation.

Nutrition diffusion tests, mechanical tests, SEM image processing, and bone tissue growth are the next steps in this project.

I am an EPSRC and Versus Arthritis funded student as part of the Centre of Doctoral Training (CDT).


Tissue engineering, biomaterials, biomedical sciences, SEM image processing, biomedical engineering


  • MSc Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering – UCL
  • BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences (Genetics) – Brunel University