Dr Gowsihan Poologasundarampillai MEng ARSM PhD DIC

Dr Gowsihan Poologasundarampillai

School of Dentistry
Birmingham Fellow in Biomaterials and Bioimaging

Gowsihan (Gowsh) Poologasundarampillai is a Birmingham Fellow in Biomaterials and Bioimaging at the Dental School. His research activity is focused on biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In specific, his research group is involved in the development of novel hybrid bioinks for 3D bioprinting, bioactive glass and hybrid scaffolds for hard and soft tissue regeneration and their characterisation using advanced techniques available at Harwell Campus.

Gowsh has over 12 years of research experience in the field of sol-gel chemistry with >30 publications and 2 patents. Gowsh has also disseminated his research findings at over 25 national and international conferences of which 6 were invited. Throughout his career, his contributions to his research field have been extremely innovative; he produced the first, bioactive, Class II hybrids for bone regeneration using natural polymers, the first electrospinning of cotton-wool-like fibrous materials from sol-gel solutions and the first 3D printed organic/inorganic hybrid scaffolds directly from sol-gel solutions. 

Qualifications

PhD in Biomaterials, Imperial College London, 2009

MEng in Aerospace Materials, Imperial College London, 2005

Biography

Gowsh was awarded his PhD from Imperial College London (ICL) in 2009, on the development and characterisation of nanocomposites for bone tissue engineering. Here, he was one of the first to use X-ray microtomography (µCT) to non-destructively quantify the macroporous architecture, permeability and mechanical properties of bioactive glass scaffolds (BGS) (Fig. 1a). This work was published in Biomaterials. BGS are brittle (Fig. 1b, µCT after brittle failure), therefore to improve on toughness GP developed the first covalently cross-linked Class II bioactive silica / poly(g-glutamic acid) hybrid using an organosilane, 3-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane (GPTMS) as the coupling agent (Fig. 1c,d). Gowsh produced both natural and synthetic polymer hybrids that showed synergistic effect on mechanical properties while maintaining bioactivity. This work was truly novel in the field of Class II biodegradable hybrids for biomedical applications and resulted in a patent application which was licenced to RepRegen Ltd (UK) and 6 high impact publications. Gowsh’s PhD work was awarded the 2010 Matthey Prize for the best PhD by a Royal School of Mines Associate and won two international awards.

A new break-through came during his first PDRA position in Nagoya Institute of Technology (NIT), Japan, while working on electrospinning of inorganic as well as organic/inorganic hybrid materials for bone regeneration (Fig. 1e-g). Gowsh demonstrated for the first time, electrospinning of cotton-wool-like materials directly from sol-gel solutions and fully characterised the formation, structure and properties of the materials. This work was published in Acta Biomaterialia where it received >1300 visits within 3 months of going online and featured in the top 10 downloaded articles for that journal. Gowsh is now commercialising this technology with industrial partners for dental and wound healing applications.

Gowsh then returned to ICL to take up a PDRA position on an EPSRC-funded project “Hybrid approaches to tissue engineering.” Here, he produced the first 3D printed organic/inorganic hybrid scaffolds directly from sol-gel solution without employing any polymer or coagulation agents (Fig. 1h,i). This technique has now been patented. The motivation behind this work was to produce porous constructs for long bone defect repair and regeneration which are available on-demand. However, the use of toxic reagents required heating, freeze-drying or washing during post-production. So, this still falls short of the ideal tissue construct; an on-demand near-patient manufacturing of patient-specific organs and tissue constructs that mimic the hierarchical multi-composite structures of individual tissues and contains the right cues for regeneration. Gowsh successfully obtained EPSRC funding while at The University of Manchester on a Research Fellowship, which was awarded to him in May 2014, to tackle this significant challenge. Here he made important discovery using ‘soft-chemistry’ sol-gel technique to synthesise a platform of organic/inorganic hybrids bioinks for 3D bioprinting. This activity has become a prime focus within his group. 

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Postgraduate supervision

Prospective students and postdocs with interest in the following areas are invited to directly contact Dr Gowsihan Poologasundarampillai.

  • Development of novel bioactive glasses and hybrids for hard and soft tissue regeneration
  • Synthesis of bioinks for 3D bioprinting of organs and tissue constructs
  • Bioactive glass fibres for bone and soft tissue regeneration
  • Correlative and multiscale imaging of biomaterials and tissue material interactions

Research

Dr Gowsihan Poologasundarampillai’s research is focused on the following two themes “Materials for regenerative medicine” and “Multimodal imaging of biomedical materials.”

Materials for regenerative medicine: Focused on the development of a new platform of bespoke organic/inorganic hybrid bioinks, for 3D bioprinting of both, soft and hard tissues. Their preparation is based on a bottom-up approach using ‘soft-chemistry’ sol-gel process under physiologically benign conditions employing novel biocompatible reagents.

Cotton-wool-like bioactive glass fibres: Focused on producing different compositions of bioactive glasses in the fibrous form for use in oral & maxillofacial applications and in the treatment of acute and chronic wounds. Gowsh developed a novel method to electrospin inorganic fibres directly from sol-gel solutions. The fibres produced entangle into a porous ball resembling cotton-wool. They are easy to handle, provide a porous structure with sub-micron fibres which mimic part of the supramolecular architecture of collagen in ECM. This is part of a large multilateral project with funding from MRC, EPSRC, JSPS, RAEng and DLS and collaborations with academics in Japan and UK. Gowsh is seeking commercial partners to collaborate on this project.

Advanced imaging of biomedical materials: Synchrotron X-ray based characterisation of structure and function of biological tissues and biomaterials. Imaging and tomography on Diamond Light Source (I13-2) using propagation based phase contrast imaging of several different types of materials, including lymph nodes (A) with Prof James Moore Jr, time resolved imaging of materials processes: in situ sintering of bioactive glasses (B); deformation of fibrous materials; sol to gel transitions of stimuli responsive materials (E). Phase contrast high resolution imaging of cells on 3D printed and electrospun scaffolds (C). In collaboration with Prof Peter Lee multiscale correlative imaging of additive manufactured bone Ti-implants (G) with nanoSIMS, histology and microCT. We have also performed experiments on other beamlines to conduct scattering, diffraction and spectroscopy of biomaterials, including: long duration experiment of mineralisation and demineralisation of dentine; texture evolution during 3D printing; structure formation on gelation; reactions of biomaterials in physiologically relevant media.

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Publications

Liu, F; Vyas , C; Poologasundarampillai, G; Pape, I; Hinduja, S; Mirihanage, W; Bartolo, P; (2018)           Structural Evolution of PCL during Melt Extrusion 3D Printing, Macromolecular Materials and Engineering

Maksimcuka, J; Obata, A; Sampson, WW; Blanc, R; Gao, C; Withers, PJ; Tsigkou, O; Kasuga, T; Lee, PD; Poologasundarampillai, G; (2017) X-ray tomographic imaging of tensile deformation modes of electrospun biodegradable polyester fibres, Frontiers in Materials 4 43

Poologasundarampillai, G; Nommeots-Nomm, A;  (2017) Materials for 3D printing in medicine: Metals, polymers, ceramics, hydrogels 3D Printing in Medicine 43-71

Maçon, ALB; Lee, S; Poologasundarampillai, G; Kasuga, T; Jones, JR; (2017) Synthesis and dissolution behaviour of CaO/SrO-containing sol–gel-derived 58S glasses, Journal of Materials Science 52 15 8858-8870

Geng, H; Poologasundarampillai, G; Todd, N; Devlin, A; Moore, KL; Golrokhi, Z; Gilchrist, J; Jones, E; Potter, RJ; Sutcliffe, C; (2017) Biotransformation of Silver Released from Nanoparticle Coated Titanium Implants Revealed in Regenerating Bone, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces                        

Carta, D; Jones, JR; Lin, S; Poologasundarampillai, G; Newport, RJ; Pickup, DM; (2017) Neutron diffraction study of antibacterial bioactive calcium silicate sol‐gel glasses containing silver International Journal of Applied Glass Science 8 4 364-371

Ting, HK; Page, SJ; Poologasundarampillai, G; Chen, S; Yu, B; Hanna, JV; Jones, JR; (2017) Phosphate content affects structure and bioactivity of sol‐gel silicate bioactive glasses International Journal of Applied Glass Science 8 4 372-382

Poologasundarampillai, G; Wang, D; Li, S; Nakamura, J; Bradley, R; Lee, PD; Stevens, MM; McPhail, DS; Kasuga, T; Jones, JR; (2014) Cotton-wool-like bioactive glasses for bone regeneration Acta biomaterialia 10 8 3733-3746

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