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Guelcher, Scott A.
Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Research Information

My current research is in the design, synthesis, and characterization of polymeric biomaterials for bone tissue engineering. Although autologous bone graft (vital tissue transplanted from one site in the patient to another) has the best capacity to stimulate healing of tissue defects, explantation both introduces additional surgery pain and also risks donor-site morbidity. One promising alternative to autograft is synthetic biomaterials that are designed to enhance healing through the natural tissue remodeling process. Polyurethanes comprise a class of synthetic polymers that are of fundamental interest to us because their mechanical and biological properties can be tuned to targeted values by controlling the structure. New materials having targeted biological and mechanical properties are being developed for three orthopaedic clinical indications:

  • Injectable polyurethane scaffolds for drug and gene delivery. Due to the increasing recognition of the need for healing therapeutics administered by minimally invasive surgical techniques, synthesis of injectable scaffolds for tissue repair is an important area of biomaterials research. Polyurethanes can be injected as a two-component reactive liquid mixture that cures in situ. Orthopaedic clinical indications for injectable therapeutics include distal radius fractures and treatment for problematic fracture healing. We have synthesized high porosity (>95%) two-component polyurethane foam scaffolds that support the attachment and proliferation of osteoprogenitor cells in vitro and degrade at a controlled rate. We are applying this technology to develop biologically active injectable therapeutics that deliver growth factors and plasmids to enhance bone wound healing.

  • Polyurethane scaffolds for ex vivo bone and ligament tissue engineering. We are collaborating with researchers at Virginia Tech to prepare engineered bone tissue ex vivo in a perfusion bioreactor by culturing bone marrow stromal cells in biodegradable segmented polyurethane scaffolds. We aim to direct osteoblastic maturation and synthesis of bioactive factors by controlling the mechanical properties of the scaffolds and using novel perfusion strategies. We envision using these materials as implants to stimulate bone healing in vivo.

  • Biodegradable bone/polyurethane composite fracture fixation devices. Traditionally, bone fractures are treated by fracture reduction and subsequent fixation. There is a compelling clinical need for a resorbable biomaterial that has the appropriate biomechanical and biological properties for fracture reduction and fixation, eliminates the need for removal surgery, and integrates with host bone. We are collaborating with a leading allograft bone company to prepare resorbable allograft bone/polyurethane composite fracture fixation devices, such as plates, screws, and intramedullary rods, by reactive liquid molding processes.

Selected Publications

Characterization of the degradation mechanisms of lysine-derived aliphatic poly(ester urethane) scaffolds. Hafeman, AE; Zienkiewicz, KJ; Zachman, AL; Sung, HJ; Nanney, LB; Davidson, JM; Guelcher, SA, BIOMATERIALS, 32, 419-429 , (2011)

Hydrogel-Electrospun Mesh Composites for Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts. McMahon, RE; Qu, X; Jimenez-Vergara, AC; Bashur, CA; Guelcher, SA; Goldstein, AS; Hahn, MS, TISSUE ENGINEERING PART C-METHODS, 17, 451-461 , (2011)


Sensing and Modulation of Invadopodia across a Wide Range of Rigidities. Parekh, A; Ruppender, NS; Branch, KM; Sewell-Loftin, MK; Lin, J; Boyer, PD; Candiello, JE; Merryman, WD; Guelcher, SA; Weaver, AM, BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 100, 573-582 , (2011)

Skeletal rigidity enhances TGF-B effects on cancer cell expression of osteolytic factors. Ruppender, NS; Sterling, JA; Martin, TJ; Mundy, GR; Guelcher, SA, BONE, 48, S39-S39 , (2011)

A Sustained Release of Lovastatin from Biodegradable, Elastomeric Polyurethane Scaffolds for Enhanced Bone Regeneration. Yoshii, T; Hafeman, AE; Nyman, JS; Esparza, JM; Shinomiya, K; Spengler, DM; Mundy, GR; Gutierrez, GE; Guelcher, SA, TISSUE ENGINEERING PART A, 16, 2369-2379 , (2010)

Local Delivery of Tobramycin from Injectable Biodegradable Polyurethane Scaffolds. Hafeman, AE; Zienkiewicz, KJ; Carney, E; Litzner, B; Stratton, C; Wenke, JC; Guelcher, SA, JOURNAL OF BIOMATERIALS SCIENCE-POLYMER EDITION, 21, 95-112 , (2010)

Matrix Rigidity Induces Osteolytic Gene Expression of Metastatic Breast Cancer Cells. Ruppender, NS; Merkel, AR; Martin, TJ; Mundy, GR; Sterling, JA; Guelcher, SA, PLOS ONE, 5, e15451 , (2010)

Mechanisms of Bone Metastasis. Mundy, GR; Steiling, J; Biswas, S; Johnson, R; Guelcher, S; Ruppender, N; Nyman, J, BONE, 47, S263-S263 , (2010)

Sustained release of vancomycin from polyurethane scaffolds inhibits infection of bone wounds in a rat femoral segmental defect model. Li, B; Brown, KV; Wenke, JC; Guelcher, SA, JOURNAL OF CONTROLLED RELEASE, 145, 221-230 , (2010)

Synthesis and Characterization of an Injectable Allograft Bone/Polymer Composite Bone Void Filler with Tunable Mechanical Properties. Dumas, JE; Zienkiewicz, K; Tanner, SA; Prieto, EM; Bhattacharyya, S; Guelcher, SA, TISSUE ENGINEERING PART A, 16, 2505-2518 , (2010)

Synthesis, characterization, and remodeling of weight-bearing allograft bone/polyurethane composites in the rabbit. Dumas, JE; Davis, T; Holt, GE; Yoshii, T; Perrien, DS; Nyman, JS; Boyce, T; Guelcher, SA, ACTA BIOMATERIALIA, 6, 2394-2406 , (2010)

Tumor Cells Alter Expression Patterns in Response to Bone Mechanical Properties. Ruppender, NS; Sterling, JA; Boyei, PD; Nyman, JS; Mundy, GR; Guelcher, SA, BONE, 47, S299-S300 , (2010)

Effect of Fiber Diameter and Alignment of Electrospun Polyurethane Meshes on Mesenchymal Progenitor Cells. Bashur, CA; Shaffer, RD; Dahlgren, LA; Guelcher, SA; Goldstein, AS, TISSUE ENGINEERING PART A, 15, 2435-2445 , (2009)


The effect of the local delivery of platelet-derived growth factor from reactive two-component polyurethane scaffolds on the healing in rat skin excisional wounds. Li, B; Davidson, JM; Guelcher, SA, BIOMATERIALS, 30, 3486-3494 , (2009)

The effects of rhBMP-2 released from biodegradable polyurethane/microsphere composite scaffolds on new bone formation in rat femora. Li, B; Yoshii, T; Hafeman, AE; Nyman, JS; Wenke, JC; Guelcher, SA, BIOMATERIALS, 30, 6768-6779 , (2009)

Biodegradable polyurethanes: Synthesis and applications in regenerative medicine. Guelcher, SA, TISSUE ENGINEERING PART B-REVIEWS, 14, 3-17 , (2008)

Computational predictions of the tensile properties of electrospun fibre meshes: Effect of fibre diameter and fibre orientation. Stylianopoulos, T; Bashur, CA; Goldstein, AS; Guelcher, SA; Barocas, VH, JOURNAL OF THE MECHANICAL BEHAVIOR OF BIOMEDICAL MATERIALS, 1, 326-335 , (2008)

Dependence of invadopodia function on collagen fiber spacing and cross-linking: Computational modeling and experimental evidence. Enderling, H; Alexander, NR; Clark, ES; Branch, KM; Estrada, L; Crooke, C; Jourquin, J; Lobdell, N; Zaman, MH; Guelcher, SA; Anderson, ARA; Weavery, AM, BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 95, 2203-2218 , (2008)

Extracellular matrix rigidity promotes invadopodia activity. Alexander, NR; Branch, KM; Parekh, A; Clark, ES; Lwueke, LC; Guelcher, SA; Weaver, AM, CURRENT BIOLOGY, 18, 1295-1299 , (2008)

Injectable biodegradable polyurethane scaffolds with release of platelet-derived growth factor for tissue repair and regeneration. Hafeman, AE; Li, B; Yoshii, T; Zienkiewicz, K; Davidson, JM; Guelcher, SA, PHARMACEUTICAL RESEARCH, 25, 2387-2399 , (2008)

Synthesis and in vivo characterization of injectable and biodegradable polyurethane scaffolds in a wound healing model. Hafeman, AE; Zienkiewicz, KJ; Li, B; Davidson, JM; Guelcher, SA, TISSUE ENGINEERING PART A, 14, P355 , (2008)

Synthesis and in vivo characterization of injectable and biodegradable polyurethane scaffolds in a wound healing model. Hafeman, AE; Zienkiewicz, KJ; Davidson, JM; Guelcher, SA, WOUND REPAIR AND REGENERATION, 16, 105 , (2008)

Synthesis, mechanical properties, biocompatibility, and biodegradation of polyurethane networks from lysine polyisocyanates. Guelcher, SA; Srinivasan, A; Dumas, JE; Didier, JE; McBride, S; Hollinger, JO, BIOMATERIALS, 29, 1762-1775 , (2008)

Synthesis and characterization of segmented poly(esterurethane urea) elastomers for bone tissue engineering. Kavlock, KD; Pechar, TW; Hollinger, JO; Guelcher, SA; Goldstein, AS, ACTA BIOMATERIALIA, 3, 475-484 , (2007)

Synthesis, in vitro degradation, and mechanical properties of two-component poly(ester urethane)urea scaffolds: Effects of water and polyol composition. Guelcher, S; Srinivasa, A; Hafeman, A, Gallagher, K; Doctor, J; Khetan, S; McBride, S; Holliger, J, TISSUE ENGINEERING, 13, 2321-2333 , (2007)

Synthesis and in vitro biocompatibility of injectable polyurethane foam scaffolds. Guelcher, SA; Patel, V; Gallagher, KM; Connolly, S; Didier, JE; Doctor, JS; Hollinger, JO, TISSUE ENGINEERING, 12, 1247-1259 , (2006)

Synthesis of biocompatible segmented polyurethanes from aliphatic diisocynates and diurea diol chair extenders. Guelcher, SA; Gallagher, KM; Didier, JE; Klinedinst, DB; Doctor, JS; Goldstein, AS; Wilkes, GL; Bechman, EJ; Hollinger, JO, ACTA BIOMATERIALIA, 1, 471-484 , (2005)

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