With recent advances in tissue engineering there is a strong need for quantitative image processing of three-dimensional natural and engineered biomaterials models to improve and control tissue engineering strategies. A number of new microstructural imaging modalities have been put forward recently allowing quantification with high precision and accuracy. Although biomedical imaging technology is now readily available, few attempts have been made to expand the capabilities of these systems. Nevertheless, quantitative endpoints have become an important factor for success in basic research and the development of novel therapeutic strategies in tissue engineering.
In our group we specialise in the measurement of functional outcomes in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine as well as the development of optimised bioreactors for biomechanical stimulation of tissue cultures. Micro-tomographic imaging is key to these developments and is expected to shed light on the relationship between cell in-growth and viability and structural features of the host material. We have devised new strategies for advanced imaging to improve and control tissue engineering strategies in skeletal applications, especially for bone and cartilage repair. These procedures can help improve predictions of material failure, clarify the pathophysiology of skeletal diseases, and define the response to therapy.