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Arjak Bhattacharjee’s Three Minute Thesis

Effect of Essential Elements and Naturally Derived Molecules on Improving Biological and Mechanical Properties of Additively Manufactured Calcium Phosphate Based Scaffolds and Plasma Sprayed Coatings

Over 1.7 billion people across the globe are currently affected by several musculoskeletal disorders resulting from aging, trauma, bone cancer, and severe infections. It is expected that by 2030 more than 50% of knee and hip replacement surgeries are going to be performed on patients under 65 years of age, which is almost 30% more compared to the current number. Osteosarcoma is the predominating bone malignancy which is the third most common cancer among pediatric patients and young adults. The current treatment includes administration of chemotherapeutic drugs followed by surgery and chemotherapy, which may lead to severe side effects and reduces the patient’s life span. This alarming scenario regarding musculoskeletal disorders is continuously motivating scientific minds across the globe to invent alternative bio implants and bone grafts having longer service life with inherent antibacterial, osteogenic, and anti-cancerous properties. Since antiquity, curcumin, and other natural medicinal compounds are utilized in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) to treat bone fractures and infections. Our work aims to utilize the essential elements (iron, magnesium, and zinc), natural polymers (starch), and natural medicinal compounds (gingerol from ginger root and curcumin from turmeric) on improving bone formation (osteogenesis), blood vessel formation (angiogenesis), antibacterial properties, and anti-cancerous properties of calcium phosphate-based bone grafts. We have fabricated the bone grafts utilizing an in-house 3D printer. The in vitro biological property assessment indicates that these grafts can find application in low load-bearing defect sites such as jaw-bone replacement. For high load-bearing applications such as knee and hip replacement, ceramic coated implants are fabricated with these essential elements and natural medicinal compounds. The inherent biological properties will also reduce the chances of graft and implant failure and costly revision surgeries. Our work is interdisciplinary and collaborative, which requires domain knowledge of biology, medicine, computational modeling, mechanical and materials engineering, and biomedical engineering. Our humanitarian aim is to reduce the suffering of countless individuals across the globe, who currently need bone replacement surgeries due to musculoskeletal disorders.

About Arjak

Arjak Bhattacharjee is currently a third year PhD student of Materials Science Program at the school of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA. He is currently working with Prof. Susmita Bose and Prof. Amit Bandyopadhyay in the area of additive manufacturing of ceramic-based implants for orthopedic applications. He completed his Masters in 2018 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and received a gold medal from the current president of India, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, for overall best performance among all postgraduate students. Apart from research, Arjak is highly passionate in several leadership and humanitarian activities and communicating science through documentaries. He directed India’s first documentary on ceramics titled “Oneness with the Infinite” which won two international awards by The American Ceramic Society and in the India-International Science film festival in 2017.