FEIT Research Project Database

Exploring the interaction between extracellular matrix molecules that modulate tissue turnover

Project Leader: Brooke Farrugia
Collaborators: Professor John Whitelock, Professor Shuhei Yamada (Meijo University Japan)
Primary Contact: Brooke Farrugia (brooke.farrugia@unimelb.edu.au)
Keywords: biomaterials; tissue engineering
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering

The extracellular matrix provides mechanical support and structure to the tissue microenvironment and is assembled from various proteins and glycoproteins, of which collagen and proteoglycans (PGs) are prominent functional components. PGs are decorated with sulphated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that are heterogeneous in structure, depending on the cell and tissue type of origin, and vary in a dynamic spatiotemporal manner. The structure of GAGs can be altered by intracellular enzymes before they are secreted, and by enzymes in the extracellular space. Remodelling of the extracellular matrix is a dynamic and ongoing process for many tissues, for which there is a critical interplay between the cells and cues they receive from their surrounding environment.

This project will investigate interactions that occur between the extracellular matrix molecules, collagen and the glycosaminoglycan chondroitin sulphate, to understand the mechanisms that control tissue regeneration and remodelling.