Current research programmes in engineering the neural interface focus on multi-functional bio-mimetic materials. In particular, this research theme exploits the development of topographically and chemically functionalised conducting polymers, noble metals and metal oxides to enhance the formation of a stable neural interface and to modulate gliosis. Other interests in this research theme include the development of elastomeric nanocomposites with enhanced electrochemical and bioactive properties as next-generation biomaterials and components of medical devices.
Piezoelectric Scaffolds for Tendon Regeneration
Current research at the Biggs lab is focused on applying nanofabrication techniques to novel classes of electrically active and responsive ‘smart’ materials. Dr Biggs’ laboratory is focused on the development of tuneable, bioactive biomaterials for musculoskeletal and neural regeneration. Critically, Dr Biggs’ research integrates material science, electronic engineering, top-down nanofabrication techniques and biological functionalisation strategies in the development of next-generation biomaterials platforms.
Piezoelectric Conduits for Spinal Cord Regeneration
A key research focus for the Biggs lab is neural biomaterials and the integration of implanted neuroelectrodes to promote functionality of neuromodulation devices or at the brain-machine interface. When a device is implanted into the CNS, however, astrogliosis mediated encapsulation at the peri-electrode region can occur, increasing tissue impedance and diminishing the ability of an electrode to record neural signals, or induce stimulation. Biomaterials approaches provide excellent opportunities for functional modification of the electrode interface, by integrating electromechanical functionality with biomechanical functionalisation to promote electrode integration and reduce peri-implant inflammation.