Dacheng Ren

Syracuse University Part of Collaborative Team Researching Preventing Infections in Engineered Tissue and Implantable Devices

Advancements in biomedical devices such as knee and hip implants, heart valves, pacemakers, dental implants, stents, and catheters have improved quality of life for patients worldwide. These devices, however, introduce foreign material into a patient and are prone to chronic infections. Through a new grant, a cross-disciplinary group of experts will collaborate to develop new approaches to prevent device-associated infections and enhance the use of these implants.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $3.6 million grant to a team of researchers from five universities in a project titled “Collaborative Research: Growing Convergence Research: Infection-Resisting Resorbable Scaffolds for Engineering Human Tissue.” Syracuse University researchers teamed up with partners at Stevens Institute of Technology, Binghamton University, City College of New York, and the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School.

The project will address the development of healthy tissue and mitigate the risk of infection in implantable devices as new biomaterials are being developed to replace failed, damaged, or defective body parts. 

The Syracuse University team is led by Shikha Nangia, Associate Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, and Dacheng Ren, Associate Dean of Research, College of Engineering and Computer Science and Stevenson Endowed Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering. 

“The novelty of this project is the cross-disciplinary convergence of microbiology, polymer science, computational biochemistry, and biomaterials science,” said Nangia.

Another aspect of the project is to train the next generation in infection control.

“The Ph.D. and undergraduate students in the research labs will travel to partner institutions during summer and gain immersive research experience in a new lab to broaden their expertise,” Nangia added.  “I am very excited about this opportunity. This project team includes researchers from five institutions, who have been working together over the past several years. It is a great example of how researchers from different disciplines can work together to solve challenging problems through convergence science,” said Ren.