4D monitoring of neo-tissue growth inside perfused tissue engineering constructs - A model supported contrast enhanced computed tomography approach.
Tissue engineering (TE) is still facing challenges with respect to the quality of its products. Advancing engineering aspects lacking in the field will be crucial in order to tackle these challenges. Bioreactor technology is one of these enabling technologies that helps to obtain high TE product quality as it allows for controlled in vitro formation of 3D neo-tissues (cells + extracellular matrix). As these neotissue are 3D dynamic structures with complex spatial heterogeneity, traditional 2D imaging techniques are insufficient to characterize them, assess their quality or investigate their formation dynamics. This PhD project aims to incorporate a novel (in-house designed) stand-alone automated perfusion bioreactor system within a nanofocus computed tomography (CT) device for 4D imaging (space + time) of neo-tissue formation. To visualize the soft tissues a range of noninvasive contrast agents will be evaluated for their staining potential and binding kinetics to the biological tissues.