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Annelie-Martina Weinberg, Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology; Medical University of Graz

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Annelie-Martina Weinberg
Availability: This position is available.
Offered by: Medical University of Graz
Application deadline:Applications are accepted between March 24, 2021 00:00 and May 05, 2021 23:59 (Europe/Zurich)



Conventional permanent metal implants are associated with a notable risk of implant failure, infection, insufficient fracture healing, and chronic inflammation. The beneficial aspects of magnesium (Mg)-based implants include good initial mechanical properties followed by bioresorbability. High concentrations of Mg2+ released from Mg-based implants have been shown to promote osteoblastogenesis and to inhibit osteoclastogenesis in vitro. Accordingly, Mg-based implants give hope to improve mechanical bone structure during osteosynthesis and bone formation. However, as a first bottleneck in the definition of optimal implants, the underlying molecular interactions and processes at the degrading Mg-based implant surface remain unclear, making the Mg-based implant’s structural evolution unpredictable and not yet applicable in clinics. In vivo models, are, on the other side, complex black boxes with numerous known but also unknown interfering parameters making the elucidation of degradation mechanisms extremely costly and time-consuming. Accordingly, in vitro models exhibit a solution in which specific parameters can be controlled and, as a result, with which the in vivo degradation mechanisms and processes can be experimentally characterized and predicted. New predictive in vitro models are urgently needed enabling a quantum leap in this area.

Hypothesis and Objectives:

Our hypothesis is that we can develop in vitro models which are able to mimic the in vivo resorption situation as proven by the formation of similar corrosion product layers (characterized with advanced composition and structural methods). With these in vitro models, we will be able to compare and predict how different Mg alloys behave in vivo. Moreover, we will be able to elucidate the influence of cells on corrosion mechanism as well as the effects of corrosion products (dissolved ions, solids) on cell phenotype of bone and immune cells.


To test the hypothesis, real- and long-time monitoring of Mg2+ release and pH changes will be determined in vitro and accordingly, the cell fluid and single cell effects in contact with the Mg implant and Mg2+ release will be assessed. These real time recordings will allow to investigate the cell/implant interface and effects on cells (differentiation, proliferation) in an in vitro approach validated by in vivo experiments and explant surface characterization. To mimic the in vivo situation, we will use a novel designed flow chamber at cell culture conditions using a real physiological simulated body fluid (SBF, without non-physiological components like TRIS and HEPES, or high phosphate concentrations), and also combine it with state-of-the-art cellular fluorescence sensors for Mg2+ and pH measurements.


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