Synovial Stem Cell Cartilage Tissue Engineering Group


Who we are

Our collaborative team of researchers includes academic scholars and clinicians from biology, veterinary science, engineering and medicine from the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.


Current Team Members

SSC Group Photo.jpg

Primary Investigators

Dr. Arin Sen – Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Dr. Neil Duncan – Civil Engineering

Dr. Dave Hart – Surgery/Microbiology/Medicine



Dr. Adetola Adesida

Dr. John Matyas

Dr. Paul Salo

Post-doctoral Fellows                                   Graduate Student Trainees

Dr. Sumrita Bhat                                                                                                     Leah Allen

Dr. Jane Desrochers                                                                                                Evelyn Heik                                                                                  

Dr. Ashkan Tehrani                                                                                                Jolene Phelps



The clinical problem

Articular cartilage covers the ends of long bones in load bearing joints like knees and hips.  When damaged due to injury, this cartilage does not usually heal itself.  Normal use of the joint following an injury can cause progressive worsening of the damage, which often leads to the development of osteoarthritis (OA).  An effective, long-term treatment approach would be to repair the area of damage soon after injury by using a functional and durable replacement tissue, thereby preventing the development of OA.  This has the potential to significantly reduce the clinical and financial impact of OA and greatly improve the lives of individuals with cartilage injuries.


What we do

The Synovial Stem Cell Cartilage Engineering group studies the design and manufacture of tissue engineered cartilage materials for the treatment of injured cartilage. 

Our research focuses on developing ways to isolate and use adult stem cells found in synovial fluid – the lubricating fluid in our joints – to generate immature cartilage-like tissues.  Grown in the right conditions, these immature tissues can have a sticky, putty-like consistency that can be used to fill in the damaged cartilage, and can integrate with the existing cartilage over time, eventually maturing into a functional cartilage replacement.

Current studies are aimed at defining the ideal mechanical and chemical conditions to generate suitable cartilage replacement materials in order to maximize the likelihood of successful integration, maturation and long-term durability of the tissue-engineered replacement material. 


Why this research is important

The proposed (synovial fluid) stem cell derived tissue engineered material represents a promising new approach for repairing cartilage defects.  This approach has significant clinical advantages over current treatment options, as it would provide a treatment for cartilage injuries using the patient’s own cells, which can be harvested with minimal impact to the patient. Because of their adhesive material properties, these tissue engineered constructs could be delivered through a small incision into defects of varying shapes and sizes and readily integrate with the surrounding cartilage where they would mature over time to become functional, durable cartilage.  The development of a stem cell derived cartilage replacement material using cells from the patient’s own body that can fill and repair narrow cracks in cartilage would be a novel and important development that has the potential to drastically improve clinical treatment outcomes for patients with cartilage injuries and diseases.


How you can get involved

Contact us to see if you can get involved!