CBS-KSC Presents: Webinar with Dr. Gaétan Laroche

CBS-KSC is proud to host our first webinar, happening on August 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm EST! We are very excited to have Dr. Gaétan Laroche from Université Laval give a talk about using surface engineering as a tool to modulate the biocompatibility of materials.

Please register here for the event by August 7, 2017. We are asking CBS members to register to help us improve the webinar experience. One hour before the webinar begins, you will be emailed a link to access the webinar. Non-CBS members are invited to check our facebook page 1 hour before the webinar to get the link. The webinar will be hosted through YouTube, and attendees will be able to chat and post questions in a text box below the video stream, that the chair (Gad Sabbatier) will then ask Dr. Laroche at the end of the talk. We hope you will join us!

Date: August 9, 2017
Time: 1:00-2:00 pm EST
Topic: Surface engineering as a tool to modulate  the biocompatibility of materials
Speaker: Dr. Gaétan Laroche (Université Laval, Quebec City)

SC9: Challenges of Moving from Bench to Bedside in Tissue Engineering

Written by: Roshni Rainbow, PhD (Clerk), Nathan Holwell (Chair), and Laura McKiel (Editor)

A typical process of moving from bench to bedside includes developing a material and performing in vitro testing, followed by in vivo testing in animals, and finally human trials. In vitro analysis begins to test the biocompatibility of the material using cells outside the body. Animal models are used for in vivo testing to take a more detailed look at the biocompatibility within a living subject. Researchers usually explore the material’s role in tissue viability, inflammation, cellular infiltration, and fibrotic response. Finally, human trials explore the feasibility of the material for the intended application supported by clinical trials.


Figure 1: The typical process for drug development, testing, and approval. Source:

In the first breakout session, we explores the next steps of  two different biomedical technologies in order to move them into a clinical application.


A major challenge of clinical trials is to appropriately scale-up the manufacturing process. A significant factor in scale-up is the propagation of cells and automating device production. As an example, microencapsulated pancreatic islets for diabetes treatment needs 500 islets for a 100 g mouse. To scale up to a 20 kg dog, 1,000,000 islets would be needed. Due to diffusion limitations, implanted capsules cannot be larger than ~200 µm in one direction. For a 100 g mouse, 1 microcapsule is required, but for a 20 kg dog one would need a 15 foot long string.

For clinical trials to begin, there are a few conditions that must be met. Firstly, the trial benefit must outweigh the risk. Secondly, the researchers must obtain free and informed consent from the patients involved in the trial. Finally, the protocol must be reviewed in advance by an independent review board. With this knowledge in mind, another example of a clinical trial was explored.

The Hepatassist Circuit Therapy by Circe Biomedical Inc. was a device to provide bioartificial liver support. When they performed their clinical trials, they had a total patient size of 116. However, 85 of these patients were part of the control portion of the study. This demonstrates the need to fully consider the number patients being studied with the actual device. The study population is especially important to consider when determining whether the material in questions has a true effect or not. And if the device does not show an effect, it is possible that it either doesn’t work or wasn’t tested in enough patients to show its true effect.

Next, we discussed the limited success of tissue engineering companies or firms. It was agreed that these companies or firms are good at discovery but lack in product development and regulatory medicine. Tissue engineered products are generally required to follow phase I/II/III regulatory pathways for pharmaceutical compounds. These submissions can cost anywhere from 300-500 million dollars. Tissue engineered products are usually discovered by smaller companies with limited funds. Due to this funds limitation, they cannot afford submission and must rely on investors. If trials are performed, they are usually done in a cheap manner. Unfortunately, these trials typically fail or only provide a narrow indication as to the material’s effect.

At the end of the session, we discussed a recent paper that commented on the greatest regulatory challenges in the translation of biomaterials to the clinic.


This article tackles the issue of clinical translation of biomaterials from a variety of viewpoints. Lawyers, regulatory officials, clinicians, and researchers comment on what they perceive to be the most difficult challenge of translating biomaterials from the bench to the clinic.

Among the arguments raised in this article by the various viewpoints, one question loomed at the end: Should scientists innovate or translate?

33rd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Biomaterials Society: Winnipeg, MB

33rd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Biomaterials Society: Winnipeg, MB

Last week we had the pleasure of attending the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Biomaterials Society, which was held in Winnipeg, MB May 24-27. In addition to our own personal research presentations, CBS-KSC presented a poster on our first Science Club during the poster session. We had a great time networking with the other student chapters and have some great ideas for student events during the upcoming year. Can’t wait for the CBS meeting next year in Victoria, BC!

Congratulations to all of our students who presented!

  • Amanda Brissenden (PhD student, Amsden lab, oral) – Development of a Thermoresponsive Homopolymer for Biomedical Applications
  • William Chaplin (MASc candidate, Fitzpatrick lab, oral) – Development of a Zebrafish-based Platform for Evaluating the Inflammatory Response to Implanted Biomaterials
  • Ashley Clarke (MASc candidate, Wells lab, poster) – Modification of Poly(methyl methacrylate) Surfaces with Azobenzene Groups as a Photoswitchable Surface
  • Christina Ippolito (MASc candidate, Bryant lab, oral) –  The effects of fluid viscosity on stress shielding in uniformly textured UHMWPE during the dwell phase of SDS motion
  • Laura McKiel (PhD candidate, Fitzpatrick lab, oral) – Toll-like Receptor 2-mediated NF-kB Activation by Damage-associated Molecular Patterns on Biomaterial Surfaces
  • Gad Sabbatier, PhD (Postdoctoral fellow, Amsden lab, oral) – Dynamic Stimulation of Alginate-Based Hydrogels to Differentiate Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Towards Nucleus Pulposus Cells

You can check out our Science Club poster, showing the highlights from our session on Frontiers in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering HERE!


Summary: Eastern Ontario CBS Symposium 2017

Summary: Eastern Ontario CBS Symposium 2017

The first annual Eastern Ontario CBS symposium, held on May 19th in the Human Mobility Research Centre of Kingston General Hospital, was a HUGE success! Students who were presenting at the 33rd Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Biomaterials Society were able to practice their presentations and receive valuable feedback from their peers. A very special highlight from the event was an outstanding keynote presentation given by Dr. Isabelle Catelas from the University of Ottawa. We were very excited to also have some members from the CBS Ottawa Student Chapter (CBS-OSC) join us at this event, and can’t wait to collaborate on more events in the future!


Our attendees included undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, principal investigators from a wide variety of departments, including chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and biomedical science, from both Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa. We even had HMRC employees stop in to check out the poster session!

We would like to congratulate our winners for Best Presentation: William Chaplin (oral) and Srijit Nair (poster). Looking forward to making the event even better next year!

You can refer to the Symposium Booklet and Program (below) for more details on the event.

EO-CBS Program


SC8: Tissue engineering beyond medical applications… What’s next?

Written by Gad Sabbatier, Ph.D (Chair), Ashley Clarke (Clerk), and Laura McKiel (Editor)

Tissue engineering principles were defined in 1993 by Langer and Vacanti with a great promise to produce laboratory-made organs, regenerate organs, or repair an organ function for everybody. In 2017, technologies developed with tissue engineering and regenerative medicine principles cure a small number of patients compared to the demand. Due to a long (and largely undefined) regulatory process and revamping standards to fit with this new market, companies work for decades between the proof of concept and the commercialization of a tissue engineered medical devices and spend millions of dollars of investments. In the meantime, academic scientists have gained a lot of expertise and knowledge towards refining this learning process and developing a wide range of principles, techniques, methods, materials, proof of concepts and possible applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

During this session, we imagined ourselves in a start up company trying to commercialize a tissue engineered product, developing short term products and considering the expertise required to finance longer-term products. Two focus questions included:

  • What else we can do with tissue engineering principles to avoid or decrease time of regulatory pathway?
  • What’s coming next to tissue engineering?


How tissue engineering and regenerative medicine can help the food industry

Cultured meat is the most popular example in the media for the past few years. It consists of highly proliferative progenitor cells that differentiate into myocytes. The first cultured beef burger was produced by Dr. Mark Post group from Maastricht University and eaten in London in 2013. Many start-up companies have since started to culture fish, chicken meat, duck or pork meat. Of course, cultured meat needs optimization and scale-up to decrease the cost, but is estimated to be commercialized in a decade at a reasonable price. Lab-grown meat solves many agricultural issues such as the large greenhouse gas emissions of farming and water needed for livestock. This application will potentially require lighter regulation processes compared to tissue engineered medical products, but to date this still remains unclear. Read more about this topic here.


Figure 1: An overview of the process of making tissue engineered meat. Source: Z. F. Bhat and H. Bhat. Journal of Stored Products and Postharvest Research, 2011, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1 – 10.



How tissue engineering and regenerative medicine can be used in the fashion and sports industries

Several researchers are trying to push the boundaries of the fashion industry by producing ivory, leather, silk, or fur using tissue engineering principles. These techniques can be employed to make ethical jewelry or luxury clothes that do not need to kill animals. Another project based on protocell technology envisions self-repairing personalized shoes that can react to pressure, heat, and topography (Figure 2).


Figure 2: Concept of protocell shoes. Source:


How tissue engineering and regenerative medicine can be applied to robotics

Many scientists are interested in bridging the gap between humans and robots by building bio-bots from living human tissues. Engineers from the University of Illinois made a walking robot with skeletal muscle cells on a 3D printed polymeric matrix that can be stimulated electrically to move (Figure 3).


Figure 3: The walking bio-bot. Source:

During the science club, we discussed the problem of fabricating a vascularized artificial skin for robots. Living skin on a robot would require the presence of blood vessels and artificial blood (blood/ biofluid supply system) with oxygen and nutrients, in addition to finding a means to distribute stem cells to replace apoptotic skin or blood cells. We also thought about a way to stimulate skin growing on orthopedics or exoskeletons by grafting peptides onto metal, to promote migration and adhesion of epithelial cells.


How tissue engineering and regenerative medicine can help the aerospace industry

Finally, we discussed how organs may evolve on Mars. Recently, NASA performed study to understand DNA changes due to durations in space. The DNA of twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly were compared after one brother had been in the International Space Station (ISS) for one year while the other stayed on earth. After the trip to space, the twins no longer had identical genetic code, proving that the environment in the ISS affects DNA. We imagined a series of experiments to study the development of organs in space or on Mars using stem or mature cells in a bioreactor that reproduces the Mars environmental conditions. Also, we wondered how non-Earth environments will affect the bodies and genetics of future generations of humans after colonization