Horst Von Recum


“Changing Bioactive Scaffolds After Implantation”


Horst von Recum is a Professor and Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.  His training took him all over the country from Rice University (Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees), to the University of Utah (PhD), to postdoc positions at the University of Washington and also in the Langer lab at MIT. In his career as an independent investigator, Dr. von Recum has pioneered the use of molecular interactions to control drug delivery, as well as to drive device reloading after implantation, filling devices when/if/as needed; culminating in over 100 publications and 5 patents.  In addition to his research, Dr. von Recum has been a leader in the Biomaterials community, Co-chairing the Gordon Conference on Biomaterials in 2017, and serving in many leadership roles in the Society for Biomaterials, including President in 2019. Since 2009 he has been Associate Editor for Experimental Biology and Medicine, in which he has edited three Special Issues on Immune Engineering, Inflammation, and Microbiome in Medicine.


Since the advent of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, there has been a push to create materials capable of doing more than serve as purely inert scaffolds.  While such materials always had mechanical, and perhaps degradation needs, there has been a substantial body of work on meeting cell signalling needs:  so-called “Bioactive Scaffolds”.  One concern is that while mechanical needs may be static, cell signalling is dynamic.  Several strategies have been used to try to change what signals the scaffold is communicating after implantation.  Our lab has been investigating the use of molecular interactions, or affinity, to drive the reloading of  bioactive signals into scaffolds, allowing one signal to be presented at one time point, and allowing that signal to be replaced with other signals at later time points.  Future work would have similar strategies provide regional selectivity in addition to the temporal selectivity presented.