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Learning more about future approaches to bone repair

03 April 2014
Panel members with workshop organisers

Technological advances are producing new insights into bone repair and remodelling. At a recent workshop audience members heard how linking expertise in biology, chemistry and bioengineering is helping our understanding of bone systems in health and disease.

The panel included Monash University’s Colin McHenry who started the session by discussing why animals (including humans) look the way that they do and the relationship between an animal's structure (its anatomy) and its function (its ecology and behaviour). The findings of his research into the load capacity of a bite by a sabre tooth tiger was particularly engaging.

Justin Cooper-White from CSIRO, the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, then showcased his bioreactor platform, including recent results from studying osteogenesis on a chip and new generation scaffolds for growing stem cells.

Peter Pivonka from the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science and The University of Melbourne then illustrated how the use of computational and experimental approaches is being used to better understand bone remodelling, in particular in relation to the development of new strategies to treat osteoporosis. 

In the final presentation the University of NSW’s Melissa Knothe Tate linked the forum by showing how a systems biology approach underpins her research into the next generation implant that mimics the natural regenerative capabilities of periosteum – a thin sleeve-like membrane covering the surface of bones which contains stem cells and growth factors necessary for bone formation and repair.

SBI Australia’s Sarah Boyd led a robust discussion, which continued over drinks, on how these different perspectives – a systems biology approach – is contributing to research and ultimately management of human health.

The workshop was organised by SBI Australia and Stem Cells Australia. 

If you are interested in finding out more about systems biology, registrations are now open for the International Conference on Systems Biology to be held in Melbourne on 14-18 September 2014.