Sandra Hofmann is an Associate Professor in Bioengineering Bone at the Orthopaedic Biomechanics research group. Her current research focuses on bioengineering skeletal tissues, in particular bone. A special focus lies on visualization and understanding of how cells react to environmental and influential parameters (chemical, mechanical, other cells) in tissue-engineered in vitro models of bone tissue. Bone diseases are multifaceted and can have a highly deleterious impact on life and society. Moreover, ageing of the population imposes us with increasing numbers of persons suffering from skeletal issues. It is well known that a varying environment (cellular, chemical, mechanical environment) can have substantial effects on bone cells. The goal of her research is to develop a human cell-based, functional, 3D in vitro model of bone. It should allow studying interactions between the various cell types within bone, but also the differences between cells from various (human) donors (healthy vs diseased, young vs aged). To address this, bioreactors have been developed for longitudinal imaging of the mineralized extracellular matrix development by cells, using micro-computed tomography. Computational approaches are used to describe these environments and to predict tissue formation in vitro.
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