Maxillofacial Bone Regeneration


We are a young group working on bone regeneration of the facial structures. In our research lines, we combine stem cells with state-of-the-art regenerative technologies to recapitulate natural tissue development and regeneration. A major focus is on bone regeneration and recently we added a line on mandibular condyle regeneration.

We employ two routes to bone regeneration:

1) For small clinical bone defects, taking the endochondral route would be most appropriate. We demonstrated great potential for mesenchymal stem cells to create impressive amounts of endochondral bone in vivo. Taking this regenerative strategy to a large animal model will bring clinical translation within reach.

2) Pre-vascularized bone constructs could be applied in larger defects that require adequate vascular supply. We have established methods to create capillary-like networks and small diameter blood vessels mimics in biomaterial-based cultures of combinations of several types of stem cells in vitro. We currently focus on bioreactor perfusion of constructs and translation to clinically applicable materials.

Further, in collaboration with Kuros Biosciences, we investigate bone regeneration with smart bioceramics in cell-free approaches in pre-clinical and clinical settings.

Mandibular condyle regeneration:

We aim to develop a biofunctionalized scaffold that is mimicking the native temporomandibular joint. For this, we use dental pulp stem cells and combine this with tissue engineering techniques such as 3D printing and the use of hydrogels as scaffold.

KEYWORDS: bone, cartilage, stem cells, bioreactors, biomaterials

Dr. Debby Gawlitta, PhD

University: University Medical Center Utrecht
Department/Institute: dept. of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Special Dental Care
Street /number: P.O. Box 85500                                                   

Zipcode City: 3508GA Utrecht                                                      
Country: the Netherlands                                                  
Phone: +31 887558035                                         

E-mail: d.gawlitta[at]