Preparation of a Biocompatible Xenograft for Ligament and Tendon Reconstruction

Location: Sydney, NSW

Duration: 5 months

This research internship is funded in partnership with the Innovative Manufacturing CRC

Project Background

Escalating rates of ligament injuries worldwide is driving demand for increased supply of superior graft materials and products, particularly given the increasing incidence of injuries in younger patient demographics. Autografts are generally the preferred graft sources for compatibility reasons however there are disadvantages associated with the potential for donor site deficits, additional surgical complications, and graft insufficiency. Allografts are the next most popular choice and disadvantages include restricted supply due to strict donor criteria and possible inferior biomechanical properties. Xenografts optimised for biocompatibility have the potential to overcome many of these disadvantages and improve current supply deficits. This project is exploring the functional suitability of kangaroo tendons as a natural and reliable off-the-shelf graft for ligament reconstruction.

Research to be Conducted

BLT is currently assessing different decellularisation techniques and performing the initial functional and biological assessments required for determining graft suitability (mechanical testing and cellular content). The primary objective of the proposed project is to further optimise processing protocols by performing preliminary in vitro biocompatibility analyses associated with post-implantation outcomes, e.g. determining changes in tissue biochemistry, evaluating the presence/absence of immunogenic epitopes, performing tissue culture and cytotoxicity assays etc. As a part of the project the intern will also have the opportunity to be involved in tissue retrievals, decellularisation and sterilisation procedures, mechanical testing of tissues and histological evaluations.

Skills Required

If you’re a PhD student and meet some or all the below we want to hear from you. We strongly encourage women, indigenous and disadvantaged candidates to apply:

  • Currently doing a PhD in physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, or closely related field
  • Basic laboratory skills including pipetting and solution preparation
  • Ability to maintain detailed laboratory notes
  • Experience with:
    • Soft tissue decellularization and/or sterilisation
    • In vitro cell culture and biocompatibility testing
    • Biochemical assays (colorimetric and fluorescence)
    • Soft tissue dissection

Expected Outcomes

It is expected that by the end of the project the intern will have assisted in the identification of the ideal tissue processing protocols for optimum graft biocompatibility based on in vitro outcomes. This information will be important for progressing our device to the next stage of preclinical trials. The intern will gain valuable industry-relevant laboratory experience, and exposure to processes required for device regulatory approval. The intern will be expected to present a report summarising the methods and results obtained from the study. Due to the commercial sensitivity of this project, BLT and its partners will expect to retain all experimental data and notes generated by the intern, and it is unlikely to be published in a scientific journal.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

27 November 2019


APR – 1277