Aeolus Vilar

“Development of a novel biodegradable scaffold for the regeneration of the intervertebral disc”

Co-supervisors: Tony Goldschlager

Aeolus received his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science from Monash University in 2016, and he joined the Frith lab for a project while undertaking an honours degree in Science with a specialisation in Biochemistry in 2017. During his honours project, he studied the effects of substrate stiffness on the paracrine activity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

In 2019, he re-joined the lab as a research assistant to work on a collaborative project with Prof. Peter Ghosh and Mesoblast to test the effectiveness of a novel gelatin-based scaffold embedded with pentosan polysulfate (PPS) on MSC chondrogenesis. In 2021 he enrolled as a PhD student and the project continued as a PhD research project co-supervised by A/Prof. Tony Goldschlager and funded by the ARC Centre Training Centre for Cell Tissue Engineering Technologies (ARC CTET).

Currently, the project aims to develop a biocompatible scaffold comprised of a gelatin sponge and hydrogel composite incorporating PPS and mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) to promote chondrogenesis. As the intervertebral discs in humans have limited regenerative capacity, the discs will inevitably degrade over time, and current treatments do not aim to promote regeneration, but only treat the symptoms of intervertebral disc degeneration. The project aims to provide a more permanent treatment that can be surgically transplanted into the disc to promote long-term regeneration.