(August 3, 2015) -- Say you fall and crack your head open, an ambulance takes you to the hospital and a group of doctors fill that hole in your skull with speaker foam? Well, soon that might be possible.
Teja Guda, an assistant professor of biomechanical engineering, and Joo L. Ong, chair and professor of biomedical engineering at UTSA, have been working on a product called scaffolding, which is meant to replace bone grafts as a treatment for people who have lost bone matter.
“It almost looks like a kitchen sponge,” Guda said. “The scaffold is 85 percent open space. The cells grow into it, and because we give them something solid to grow into, they start to regenerate tissue.”
Chemically, the scaffolding is made of the same ceramics that are found in bones.
“The idea is to mimic nature,” Guda said. “The body is what we want to duplicate, so why not literally duplicate the building blocks?”
The foam is, in fact, the same foam used in soundproofing and speakers, so it’s an actual building material being used to rebuild a part of the human body. It’s glazed in the same way ceramic pottery is glazed, except its ceramic putty has the same chemical makeup of human bones. It’s put into a furnace to harden the material.
“The big problem with glazed pottery is if you drop it, it cracks,” Guda said. “Now, in the fourth generation and thanks to a protein coating, the current generation of scaffolding is very much improved for performance, in that now it can chip but it won’t disintegrate.”
Scaffolding could replace bone grafts as a treatment, which is taking bone either from the patient’s body or from a cadaver. But cadaver bones have the risk of transmitting disease or not being compatible with the patient’s body.
“If the graft is taken from the patient’s body, the pain from that second injury is often more than the original injury,” said Guda. “There’s only so much you can scavenge from across the body. You don’t have a lot of spare bones lying around.”
Animal trials have been successful and the product is now undergoing further development abroad. Guda has also loaded drugs and antibiotics onto the scaffolding material so that doctors can skip that extra step while treating a patient.
Learn more about biomedical engineering at UTSA.
Learn more about the College of Engineering.
Ron Ellis conducts the student instrumental ensemble in a free concert that is open to the public.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (Arts 2.03.02), Main Campus
The UTSA Office of Veteran and Military Affairs is hosting a day full of outreach events and activities by the U.S. Navy as part of a larger Navy presence in San Antonio called Navy Week with various events in the community through Feb. 25.
Student Union Paseo and Convocation Center entrance, Main Campus
Join this interactive play that is a courtroom drama and the audience is the jury. Discussion and will follow.
Student Union, Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
Langston Clark, UTSA assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition will discuss exploring the historical context for the role of black athletes in contemporary social movements.
John Peace Library, Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
The UTSA African American Studies program invites speakers from the leading African American Fraternities and Sororities for a panel discussion of the history of each organization and to enlighten the audience about the community service, academic purpose, professionalism and ethical roots of each group.
Student Union, Mesquite Room (SU 2.01.24), Main Campus
MuTe Fest is a celebration of original music and technology. Three days of concerts, sessions, and informative lectures will offer a unique experience of musical works created by fellow UTSA students and the chance to gain valuable knowledge about music technology.
Art Building, Music Tech Lab (Arts 3.01.30B), Main Campus
UTSA Libraries hosts Assistant Professor Ian Caine for his lecture, Architectural Postcards from Space, as part of the popular Pizza + Research series. Pizza will be served while supplies last.
Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 2.304), Downtown Campus
The theme of this year’s symposium is Black & Brown Futures. The free event will give UTSA students and the community the opportunity to meet and hear national scholars talk about current research and academic trends relevant to the lives of African Americans in the United States.
Student Union, Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.