ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

Biomedical applications

'Holey scaffolds' under development for in-situ imaging, drug delivery

Scaffold diagram

An ECE/School of Biomedical Engineering Sciences (SBES) team is building a first-of-its-kind engineered platform to perform real-time imaging of tissue regeneration at the cellular and molecular levels. Called “holey scaffolds,” the environments are based on a novel combination of fiber optics and tissue regeneration technology.

“Despite their complex 3-D structures, tissues and organs are primarily studied using highly invasive 2-D in vitro techniques, such as biopsy and histology that can only provide limited information at a few discrete time points,” says ECE’s Yong Xu, who is principal investigator on the effort. In contrast, the holey scaffold technology will provide real-time, 3-D information on the complex biological processes involved in regenerative medicine. Holey scaffolds will initially be tested for bone-regeneration, but have wide-ranging potential in the medical field. The project is funded by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technologies and Applied Science (ICTAS). SBES faculty members on the team include Ge Wang, Joseph Freeman, Nichole Rylander, and Chris Rylander.