Venu Varanasi, PhD

Antioxidant Implant Coatings for Rapid Bone and Vascular Regeneration in Compromised Wound Healing

Dr. Varanasi received his PhD (Chemical Engineering) from University of Florida in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory for development of solid oxide electrolyte fuel cell technology used in aerospace. He launched his career in craniofacial bioengineering as a Postdoc at University of California at San Francisco and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has continued this work as a faculty at UT Arlington Bone Muscle Research Center. He has more than 35 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, patents, and funded on projects from Department of Energy, Canadian Nuclear Energy Agency, NSF, NIH, and industry. He collaborates with oral and maxillofacial surgeons and is training 2 dental surgeons for the current project.
Each year, the U.S. reports ~7.5 million Emergency Department visits related to craniomaxillofacial (CMF) injuries, at a cost of $55.2 billion annually. Reconstruction of CMF bone defects caused by trauma, developmental defects, or benign/malignant tumors is a challenge. Recent advances toward achieving precision reconstruction include the use of autologous bone grafts or various materials, but these techniques fail to provide adequate bone volume, 3D contouring, and can cause host site morbidity. Materials such as hydroxyapatite or custom fabricated implants (PEEK, Titanium) are used with varying degrees of success, but fail to regenerate bone, require prolonged time for fabrication, multiple surgeries, and have a high manufacturing cost.
In this project, our objective is to develop new methods and materials to treat craniomaxillofacial bone defects with or without compromised healing. Compromised healing can manifest as an insult that results in the difficulty in regenerating new bone. One of those conditions is oxidative stress, or the accumulation of reactive oxygen species that results from compromised revascularization or that overwhelm cellular survival and regeneration of the defect. In our novel approach, we have developed an antioxidant material that can be coated onto currently deployed fixation plates used to stabilize the bone defect. The antioxidant material is low in cost and scalable to manufacture onto current fixation plates. Our goal is to use this material to diminish the impact of oxidative stress by electrochemically reducing reactive oxygen species and stimulate bone and vascular tissue regeneration to help speed bone defect healing.


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