BIOMASKIN: Biocompatible Magneto-Active Structures to Simulate Skin Wound Healing: an Experimental-Computational Coupled Approach

BIOMASKIN is a multidisciplinary project that aims at providing cutting-edge solutions to simulate pathological and healing conditions on skin-based structures by magneto-mechanical stimulation. The healing of acute wounds progresses smoothly, transitioning from one phase to another and resulting in stable wound closure. However, systemic conditions such as diabetes or venous insufficiency often lead to incomplete re-epithelialization. This can result in the development of chronic, non-healing ulcers (mostly on the skin) that compromise the life quality of the affected individuals and expose them to potentially life-threatening infections. Despite wound edge keratinocytes in chronic ulcers are highly proliferative, contrary to acute (normally healing) wounds, they are unable to migrate and do not display markers for epidermal differentiation. During these processes, skin cells and their surrounding can suffer important mechanical alterations. These mechanical conditions are thought to play a relevant role on healing process. However, there are still important limitations to evaluate these effects and apply such mechanical stimuli. Critical limitations are related to the isolation, combination and remote control of the aimed mechanical conditions. In this project, we propose a multidisciplinary approach to simulate pathological conditions on skin structures through magneto-mechanical stimuli. The bases of the proposed framework rely on magneto-active polymers that constitute heterogeneous modifiable substrates for skin-based structures, allowing for the incorporation of bioprinted dermal matrices. These substrates permit the modulation of their mechanical properties by application of external magnetic stimuli to simulate wound healing and pathological skin conditions. The development of such framework requires the combination of experimental, theoretical and computational multidisciplinary methodologies and would provide significant insights into skin wound healing.


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