Assistant Professor
Department of Urology

Project title: Bio-inspired Electrospun Urethral Scaffold Design: Biomechanical, Structural and In vitro Evaluation

Nasim Annabi – UCLA
Song Li – UCLA
Isla Garraway – UCLA
Ali Khademhosseini – Terasaki Institute

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
Bioengineering, chemical engineering, scaffold design, biomechanics, cell-material interactions, reconstructive surgery

Project Description:
Urethral defects requiring urethroplasty (repair of urethral tube) occur in children and adults secondary to congenital, traumatic, infectious and malignant conditions. Current tissue sources for urethral replacement are limited by donor site morbidity and lack of optimal tissue characteristics to support lifelong voiding and penile erections (tumescence). A subsequent high risk of short- and long-term urethroplasty complications, particularly after proximal or long-segment urethral replacement, highlights the need for an improved tissue alternative with a bioinspired design. To create an option for urethral tissue replacement, this proposal addresses key design requirements including 1) optimized scaffold mechanical properties to support cell seeding and early function, 2) structural properties to establish microenvironments supporting primary cell lines and 3) a reproducible scaffold with widely applicable and modifiable fabrication process. The aim of this proposal is the creation of novel tubular biodegradable, biomimetic urethral tissue constructs consisting of multilayered cell sheets that mimic native urethral biomechanical and structural properties. This work will additionally provide key insights into cellular-extracellular matrix interactions and the optimized microenvironment for tissue regeneration.