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 – helmed by Prof Lee Eng Hin, Assoc Prof James Hui, Asst Prof Toh Wei Seong, Dr Yang Zheng, Dr Wu Yingnan and Dr Ren Xiafei.
  • Tissue Repair Laboratory – helmed by Prof James Goh, Assoc Prof Wilson Wang Ee Jen, Dr Neo Puay Yong and Dr Thomas Teh Kok Hiong
  • Spine Research Group – helmed by Prof Wong Hee Kit and Dr Raymond Lam Wing Moon
  • Craniomaxillofacial Group – Assoc Prof Cao Tong, Assoc Prof Lim Thiam Chye, Asst Prof Toh Yi-Chin and Asst Prof Toh Wei Seong

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 biophysically sorted chondrocytes 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
  • Investigating the inflammatory response in growth plate injury and the restoration of growth using anti-cytokine approaches
  • Improving the graft bonding at the bone tunnel for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction using a Silk Sleeve Device

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
  • Cardiac Tissue Patch
  • 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
  • Disc regeneration

Research Focus Areas (Craniomaxillofacial Group)

  • The unifying theme is “Application of tissue engineered therapies for injured soft tissues and failing organs”
  • Developing In-Vitro Human Platform of vascularized, innervated, functional, standard and live Tissue-Organ-System from hESC as ethical and unlimited source to improve clinical service (regenerative medicine, transplantation, precision medicine, etc.) and as efficient platform to upgrade human evaluation in health and medical studies
  • iHuman+ (new): Agelessly update and rebuild body, brain, intelligence, plus data and intelligence tech
  • Clinical and biological design and R&D of the highly macro-porous structure of systemic and oral implant and scaffold for tissue, organ repair and reconstruction with additive manufacturing or 3D printing
  • To accelerate the pace of novel surgically applicable tissue-engineered and regenerative therapies from bench to bedside through multidisciplinary collaboration and the design of a collective strategy
  • Environmental control of human pluripotent stem cell derived neural crest stem cells (NCSCs) for modelling and repairing craniofacial defects
  • 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

Research Infrastructure and Support

  • 3 units of BSL-2 Cleanrooms designated for cell culture work with 2 units among them are certified Class 10K Cleanroom, the 3rd unit designated for bioreactor-related culture
  • Bioreactors: Flexcell, compression-shear biaxial stimulator
  • 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 Investigator
  • Staff and post-graduate student areas