Centre for Integrative Physiology

Dr Jennifer Paxton

My lab focusses on musculoskeletal tissue engineering, in particular, methods to engineer bone tissue, tendon tissue and the bone-tendon interface.

Jennifer Paxton

Lecturer in Anatomy

  • Hugh Robson Building
  • 15 George Square
  • Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details

Personal profile

  • 2015-present: Lecturer in Anatomy
  • 2013-2015: Visiting Lecturer in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, University of Bedfordshire, UK
  • 2009-2013: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, TRAILab, University of Birmingham, UK
  • 2006- 2009: PhD, Tissue Engineering, University of Dundee, UK
  • 2004-2005: MSc Bioengineering, University of Strathclyde, UK
  • 2000-2004: BSc (Hons) Anatomy, University of Glasgow, UK

Research

The anatomy of tissue interfaces

Figure 1 tendon
Fig 1: The bone-tendon interface

The anatomical structures of tissue transitions are fundamental to their function. These transitions are biochemically and biomechanically adapted to allow smooth transfer of force between tissues with varying mechanical properties.

For example, the force generated by muscle contraction must travel from a compliant tendon to a stiff bone to facilitate movement.

The bone-tendon junction is therefore adapted to achieve this, with a gradual increase in mineralisation from tendon to bone, the presence of fibrocartilage at the interface and changes in the alignment of collagen fibres (Figure 1).

Similar adaptations are seen throughout the body at tissue junctions and so it is important to establish adequate transition points if engineered tissues are to become a realistic possibility for implantation.

Interfacial Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering seeks to manufacture replacement tissues in the laboratory using a combination of biological and engineering principles.

While many groups concentrate on the engineering of particular tissues in isolation, a subset of tissue engineering research has emerged recently, called interfacial tissue engineering, which attempts to re-establish the complex interfaces found at the junctions between tissues as described above.

The Paxton Lab focusses on interfacial tissue engineering of the musculoskeletal system and our research can be split into three related and complementary topics;

  1. Understanding the mechanisms of musculoskeletal tissue interface formation in vitro Using 2D and 3D culture systems, we are investigating cellular co-cultures to examine their behaviour, organisation and interaction.
  2. The manufacture of complete multiphasic tissue structures for implantation Using a combination of scaffolds and cell populations, we are investigating the manufacture of complete bone-to-bone ligaments, osteochondral plugs and bone-tendon replacements for implantation following injury.
  3. Developing 3-dimentional in vitro models for understanding musculoskeletal disease and repair. Our 3D culture systems can be a useful model for the study of musculoskeletal disease or for the investigation into repair options following injury. 

Team members

  • Hamad Alsaykhan (PhD student)
  • Jeremy Mortimer (PhD student)

Collaborations

  • Dr Jan Vorstius, University of Dundee
  • Dr Elzbieta Pamula, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow

Recent publications

Wang A., Williams R.L., Jumbu N., Paxton J.Z., Davis E.T., Snow M.A., Ritchie A.C., Johansson C.B., Sammons R.L. Grover L.M. (2016) Development of tissue engineered ligaments with titanium spring reinforcement. Accepted in RSC Advances.

Smith A.M., Paxton J.Z., Hung Y.P., Hadley M.J., Bowen J., Williams R.L., Grover L.M. (2015). Nanoscale crystallinity modulates cell proliferation on plasma sprayed surfaces. Materials Science & Engineering C. 48(5-10).

Wudebwe U.N.G., Bannerman A., Goldberg-Oppenheimer P., Paxton J.Z., Williams R.L., Grover L.M. (2015). Exploiting cell-mediated contraction and adhesion to structure tissues in vitro. Philosophical transactions B. 370(1661).

Lebled C., Grover L.M, Paxton J.Z. (2014) Combined decellularisation and dehydration improves the mechanical properties of tissue-engineered sinews. Journal of Tissue Engineering. doi: 10.1177/2041731414536720

Jordan R., Saithna A., Paxton J.Z., Grover L., Krikler S.J., Thompson P. (2014) Early failure of tantalum patellar augments in the post-patellectomy knee. Current Orthopaedic Practice. In press

Tan Y., Zhao Z., Paxton J.Z., Grover L.M. (2014) Synthesis and in vitro degradation of a novel magnesium oxychloride cement. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2014 Mar 13 doi:10.1002/jbm.a.35166

Koburger S.K., Bannerman A., Grover L.M., Mueller F., Bowen J., Paxton J.Z. (2013) A novel method for monitoring mineralisation in hydrogels at the engineered hard/soft tissue interface. Biomaterials Science, 2, 41-51

Bannerman A., Paxton J.Z., Grover L.M. (2013) Imaging the hard/soft tissue interface. Biotechnology Letters. Epub. PMID:24129952

Paxton J.Z., Baar K., Grover L.M. (2012) Current progress in enthesis repair: strategies for interfacial tissue engineering. Orthopaedic and Muscular system special issue. 2012 S1.

Paxton J.Z., Wudebwe U., Wang A., Woods D., Grover L.M. (2012) Monitoring sinew contraction during formation of tissue-engineered fibrin-based ligament constructs. Tissue Eng Part A 18(15-16):1596-607

Paxton J.Z., Hagerty P., Andrick J.J., Baar K. (2012) Optimizing an intermittent stretch paradigm using ERK1/2 phosphorylation results in increased collagen synthesis in engineered ligaments. Tissue Eng Part A 18(3-4) 277-84.

Jennifer Paxton publication list (pdf)