Tissue Engineering


The NUS Tissue Engineering Programme (NUSTEP) is a multidisciplinary programme that aims to develop core competencies and to create innovations in cell and construct technologies for effective integration of living systems for clinical therapies. The goal is to establish a globally competitive programme in tissue engineering with significant research outcomes that will result in international recognition for high quality research with clinical and industrial applications.

Key Objectives

  • To engage basic scientists, engineers and clinicians in the strategic development of translational research in Tissue Engineering
  • To develop strong partnerships with research institutes, both locally and abroad to develop a world-class program in Tissue Engineering
  • To create a conducive environment for education and training of research manpower
  • To develop industrial outreach programs in the field of Tissue Engineering

Research Groups

  • Stem Cell & Cartilage – Stem Cell & Cartilage – helmed by Prof Lee Eng Hin, Prof James Hui, Assoc Prof Toh Wei Seong, Dr Yang Zheng, Dr Wu Yingnan and Dr Ren Xiafei.
  • Tissue Repair Laboratory – helmed by Prof James Goh, Prof Subbu Venkatraman.
  • Spine Research Group – helmed by Prof Wong Hee Kit, Asst Prof Andy Tay Kah Ping and Dr Raymond Lam Wing Moon.

Research Focus Areas (Stem Cell & Cartilage)

Exploration of ex vivo culture conditions for expansion of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for autologous cell-based cartilage regeneration
Control of MSC chondrogenic differentiation by the manipulation of micro environmental cues

a. Influence of biochemical properties of matrix
b. Influence of surface topography and stiffness

Contribution of physical stimulation to stem cell chondrogenesis

a. Mechanical stimulation
b. Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) stimulation

Study of scaffold microstructural influence on chondrocytes vs MSC chondrogenic differentiation.

Application of label-free biophysically sorted chondrocytes and MSCs in articular cartilage regeneration.

Study of the secretome factors of MSCs and their roles in cartilage tissue regeneration with focus on developing next generation therapies for treatment of articular cartilage injuries and osteoarthritis.

Deciphering the paracrine mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in cranio-maxillofacial tissue regeneration with focus on developing next generation therapies for treatment of temporomandibular joint injuries and osteoarthritis.

Investigating the inflammatory response in growth plate injury and the restoration of growth using anti-cytokine approaches.

Research Focus Areas (Tissue Repair and Reconstruction Group)

Tendon and Ligament Tissue Engineering

Bone-Ligament Interface Tissue Engineering

Bone-Cartilage Interface Tissue Engineering

Intraverterbral disc (IVD) Tissue Engineering

Bioreactor/Pulsed Electromagnetic Field for Bone Tissue Engineering

Tissue Engineering approach to the development of an in-vitro 3D tumor model for drug delivery studies

3D Printing for Musculoskeletal Applications

Strategies to decrease bone resorption, wear and infection in implant surgery

Research Focus Areas (Spine Research Group)

Bone regeneration in spinal fusion

Growth factor control release vehicles

Synergiaism between growth factors and stem cells

Visualization of neuropathic pain generators

Pathophysiology of ligamentum flavum hypertrophy

Disc repair and regeneration with novel magnetic hydrogel

Research Infrastructure and Support

3 units of BSL-2 Cleanrooms designated for cell culture work, 2 units certified Class 10K Cleanroom, and the 3rd unit designated for bioreactor-related culture

Bioreactors: Flexcell, compression-shear biaxial stimulator

Nano Tribometer

Low Oxygen tension workstation

Histology Lab

Biomaterials and Scaffold Fabrication Laboratory (silk knitting, electrospinning facility)

Surface Modification Laboratory

Bio-Instrument and Microscopy Laboratory

General Research Laboratory allocated to Principal Investigators

Staff and post-graduate student seating areas