My research is focused on understanding the relationship between biomaterials and their target tissues to provide the basis for rational design of new scaffolds that orchestrate appropriate cellular responses, improve tissue integration and have enhanced functional lifespan. These goals are addressed through projects that encompass aspects of mesenchymal stem cell/bone/cartilage cell biology and micro/nanoscale fabrication. The strategy is to translate basic research findings that investigate the regulation of mesenchymal stem cell fate, bone-forming osteoblasts and cartilage-forming chondrocytes and couple this with studies that investigate how specific micro/nanotopography and physical structure can influence all aspects of cell behaviour including proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis.
Johnson-Lynn SE, Roy S, McCaskie AW, Birch MA (2015) Electrochemical modification of titanium alloy influences osteoblast morphology and activity of cadherin-11 and Rho-Family GTPases. Journal of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. 5:857–863.
Katarivas Levy G, Birch MA, Brooks RA, Neelakantan S, Markaki AE. Stimulation of Human Osteoblast Differentiation in Magneto-Mechanically Actuated Ferromagnetic Fiber Networks. J Clin Med. 2019 Sep 22;8(10). pii: E1522.
Roque AI, Soliakov A, Birch MA, Philips SR, Shah DS, Lakey JH. (2014) Reversible Non-Stick behaviour of a bacterial protein polymer provides a tuneable molecular mimic for cell and tissue engineering. Adv Mater. 26(17):2704-9
Birch MA, Tanaka M, Kirmizidis, Yamamoto S, Shimomura M. (2013) Microporous “Honeycomb” films support enhanced bone formation in vitro. Tissue Engineering Part A. 19(17-18):2087-96.
Mitchell E, Chaffey BT, McCaskie AW, Lakey JH, Birch MA. (2010) Controlled spatial and conformational display of immobilised bone morphogenetic protein-2 and osteopontin signalling motifs regulates osteoblast adhesion and differentiation in vitro. BMC Biol. 10;8:57.
Kirmizidis G, Birch MA. (2009) Microfabricated grooved substrates influence cell:cell communication and osteoblast differentiation in vitro. Tissue Engineering Part A. 15(6):1427-1436.
Areas of expertise
bone and cartilage biology; mesenchymal stem cells; cell-biomaterial interactions; nano/microscale biomaterial fabrication