Dr. Yadong WangThe NewScientist article Polymer scaffolds may restore damaged nerves said
One of the problems with restoring damaged nerves is that some do not respond to growth factors unless also stimulated by neuronal activity, which decreases dramatically when damaged occurs.
“It’s a catch-22 situation,” says Yadong Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, US.
Wang and graduate student Christiane Gumera developed a polymer laced with chemicals that mimic a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which relays, amplifies, and modulates signals sent between neurons. The hope was that the polymer could trigger a regenerative reaction in damaged nerve cells.
Tests on cultured cells show that the polymer stimulates the growth of neurites the fiber-like projections that connect neurons at a rate of 0.7 millimeters a day.
Yadong Wang, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor,
Wallace H. Coulter Dept. of Biomedical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology. His areas of research are
biomaterials, tissue engineering, and drug delivery.
His research on functional biomaterials is at the boundary of chemistry, biology, materials science, and engineering. His goal is to create materials that enable new treatments for the repair and regeneration of tissues. He is developing strategies that will enable us to directly polymerize a wide variety of biomolecules with synthetic linkers to create functional biomaterials. These polymers feature degradable ester backbones and biomolecular side chains, which make these materials biologically functional. These new biomaterials are designed to provide biocompatibility, specificity, and diversity at a fraction of the cost of chemically or biologically synthesized polypeptides.
Yadong coauthored A Neuro-inductive Biomaterial Based on Dopamine, Catalytic Galactose Oxidase Models: Biomimetic Cu(II)-Phenoxyl-Radical Reactivity, Galactose Oxidase Model Complexes: Catalytic Reactivities, Combined Tumor Therapy by Using Radiofrequency Ablation and 5-FU-Laden Polymer Implants: Evaluation in Rats and Rabbits, Endothelialized Microvasculature Based on a Biodegradable Elastomer, Spheroid Formation and Expression of Liver Specific Functions of Primary Rat Hepatocytes Co-cultured with Bone Marrow Cells, Biocompatibility analysis of poly(glycerol sebacate) as a nerve guide material, Biomimetic Approach to Cardiac Tissue Engineering: Oxygen Carriers and Channeled Scaffolds, and Three-Dimensional Microfluidic Tissue-Engineering Scaffolds Using a Flexible Biodegradable Polymer. Read the full list of his publications!
Yadong earned his M.S. in Chemistry from Kansas State University in 1995, his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Stanford University in 1999, and did his Postdoctoral work in Chemical Engineering at MIT from 1999 to 2002.
Read Dopamine used to prompt nerve tissue to regrow.