Jake Barralet

Canada Research Chair in Osteoinductive Biomaterials

Tier 2 - 2004-01-08
Renewed: 2009-09-01
McGill University


Coming to Canada from

University of Birmingham, UK

Research involves

Controlling biomaterial properties to induce bone formation.

Research relevance

The research is aimed at the development of new materials for bone repair.

Boning up on Materials

Periodontal disease, osteoporosis, and arthritis are among the world's most prevalent diseases. Surgical reconstructive treatments for all these diseases will greatly benefit from the development of new and better biomaterials - which is the ultimate aim of Canada Research Chair Dr. Jake Barralet.

Bone tissue engineering using implanted cells and inductive chemicals has received much attention in the past decade, although the phenomenon of bone tissue induction by implanting a biomaterial has been comparatively overlooked since it was first reported in 1969.

There are obvious advantages in being able to induce bone to form, without costly cell harvesting and expansion or the use of purified and unstable proteins of uncertain pharmacological action. We still don't understand, however, how the simple presentation of a material surface inside the body triggers a cascade that results in bone formation.

Dr. Barralet is employing bioceramic, surface science, and in vitro techniques in order to characterize the nature of surface changes that occur on osteoinductive materials and the effect they have on bone-forming cells. A better understanding of these processes will allow improved design of implantable biomaterials for bone wound healing and orthopedic and craniofacial applications.

The expected benefit to Canada of the proposed research is the creation of an internationally leading research laboratory that aims to be the first to discover critical mechanisms underlying the osteoinductive effect. The research is not only the result of individual effort by Dr. Barralet, but it also draws on existing McGill, Montréal, Québec, and Canadian networks to accelerate the research process appropriately. Research on the osteoinductive properties and mechanisms behind biomaterials effects and osseointegration will reach not only the population of Canada, but also the global orthopaedics and dental markets.