Advanced Biomaterials

Module aims

The course aims to introduce students to the latest developments in hard tissue biology.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this lecture series the students should be able to describe the main classes of natural polymers, their structure and their applications.

Cementless fixation (Prof E Saiz)

At the end of the course students should be able to define:

  • Fixation methods for metallic implants: morphological fixation and biological fixation and understand how these process occur upon implantation
  • Coating types including porous metal coatings, hydroxyapatite coatings
  • Coating methodologies: plasma spraying, biomimetics, RF sputter deposition, polymer coatings.  The advantages and disadvantages of each technique and methods to improve the long and short term bond bonding ability of the coating.


Artificial bone grafts and scaffolds (Prof J Jones and Prof E Saiz)

At the end of the module the student should be able to:

·         Explain the shortfalls of bone replacement materials to the biomaterials industry and investors

·         Have knowledge of commercially available bone graft replacement materials and be able to discuss their benefits and shortfalls.

·         Present alternative means to repair skeletal tissues to both healthcare professionals and patients.

·         Communicate the differences between melt and sol-gel derived bioactive glasses, their mechanisms of bioactivity and application

·         Design an ideal bone replacement material

·         Discuss processing methods for production of artificial bone grafts including advantages and disadvantages of each

·         Explain the challenges involved with transfer of laboratory inventions to a clinical product


Biocements (Prof E Saiz)

At the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Describe methods of producing calcium phosphate and polyalkenoate cements
  • Understand the mechanisms for cement setting
  • Compare the mechanical response of diverse cement types
  • Describe the mechanisms for cement biodegradation
  • Classify cements for dental application and determine selection criteria

Bioactive nanoparticles (Prof J Jones)

At the end of the course students should be able to describe:

  • Production and application of HA and bioactive glass nanoparticles
  • Cell uptake routes and nanotoxicity of both classes of nanoparticle
  • Concepts of non-conventional pharmaceuticals

     Nanotoxicology and Nanotherapeutics (TBC)

    At the end of the course students should be able to discuss:

    • Types of therapeutic nanomaterials and their applications
    • Cancer treatment through the use of particles
    • Cell uptake routes and nanotoxicity of both classes of nanoparticle

    Biomaterials/ tissue interactions and wear (TBC)

    • Physiological responses to biomaterials (Wear debris, Foreign body reaction)
    • Material properties which determine outcome (Host properties, Biomaterial properties, Size of biomaterials and host response)

    Characterisation of material: biomaterial-tissue and biomaterial-cell interfaces (TBC)

    By the end of this lecture series, the students should understand how the following techniques can be used to characterise biomaterials:

    •         Chemical characterisation: XPS, XRF, SIMS, FTIR, Raman spectroscopy

    •         Imaging interfaces between biomaterials-protein/cells/ tissues

    •         Scanning probe techniques (AFM), optical microscopy, confocal microscopy

    •         Imaging and analysis of biomaterials: SEM, ESEM, FIB-SEM, TEM

    •         3D imaging of materials and material/ tissue interfaces, eg tissue ingrowth

    Commercialisation/ translation of medical devices (Prof J Jones)

    Students will have an understanding of the mechanism and stages needed to take a new device from concept to clinic. This will be achieved through a practical Dragon’s Den exercise in groups

    •         Patenting

    •         Regulatory procedures and claims

    •         Clinical trials

    •         Good manufacturing practice

Module syllabus

24 lectures

Wear particles, Cementless fixation, porous ingrowth materials, PSHA, chemically deposited coatings, Fracture fixation, fracture fixation plates, degradable fixation plate, bone screws and plugs, Calcium phosphate and polyalkenoate cements, Bone substitutes, autografts and allografts, Apatite glass ceramics, Bioglass/ sol-gel, Porous ceramics, Porous metals and porous glass, Materials based on natural products, collagen based materials, alginates, hyaluronic acid and chitin, Blood contacting devices, vascular grafts, stents, catheters and heart valves, artificial organs.


Prerequisites: MSE 315 Biomaterials

Teaching methods

24 lectures: Spring term



The course is examined in the summer term.  The exam is 2.5 hours in duration and consists of 5 questions, from which students must answer 3 questions (each marked out of 20).


The pass mark for the MEng cohort is 40% and for an MSc course is 50%.  The module contributes 100 marks of the fourth year. 

Module leaders

Professor Julian Jones