About this website
This website is designed to showcase current cutting edge research happening at the Tissue Engineering & Biophotonics department at Kings College, London. It is also designed to present how this research may impact how we grow high end fashion in years to come. Presented as a fictitious haute couture brand's e-commerce site it allows visitors to place 'orders' for their future fashion, exploring how consumers feel about this as a premise. Through this online platform audience members are asked to engage with the science of tissue engineering and leave feedback on how they feel about its use, both for regenerative medicine purposes and future commercial applications.
About the current research
Entitled broadly,‘Tissue Engineered Textiles’, the current research* project in the laboratory is exploring how traditional textile craft techniques can be utilised in the field of tissue engineering, for both regenerative medicine and future materials and products.
As a science tissue engineering is concerned with the goal of growing replacement parts for, and repairing, the body - from skin and blood vessels through to ultimately whole organs in years to come. One of the key areas of research is the design and development of scaffolds to support cell growth. Scaffolds are created to give cells architecture around which to attach and grow. Textiles as a discipline offers a way to create scaffolds due to its unique ability to be able to mimic natural structures in the body, creating bespoke structures that are difficult or impossible to achieve in other mediums.
The main aim of the work is to understand how craft skills such as lace making and embroidery can be used in cutting edge science to help repair the body, whilst also considering if the techniques used, and materials, produced could also be harnessed to grow ethical ivory or leather, for example?
To find out more about the current research and what is happening in the laboratory please visit the 'Behind the Scenes' section of this website.
*This research is conducted by designer and researcher Amy Congdon and is funded by a Central Saint Martins Part-time fees only bursary. The work is also kindly supported by the Tissue Engineering & Biophotonics Department at Kings College London and The Design & Living Systems Laboratory at Central Saint Martins, UAL.
About the Tissue Engineering & Biophotonics Department, Kings College London:
"The mission of the Tissue Engineering and Biophotonics Division is to enhance healthcare outcomes on a world-wide scale, through its research, training and research translation programmes. The division provides a unique interface between basic and applied research through to clinical translation. The staff in the internationally recognised division are supported by excellent facilities in cell and tissue culture, molecular biology, novel biomaterials development and testing, physical, biological and mechanical characterisation and state-of-the-art imaging facilities, including spectroscopy, multi-photon microscopy and endoscopy."
About the Design & Living Systems Laboratory, Central Saint Martins, UAL
"The Design and Living Systems Lab is a pioneering research laboratory that explores the interface of biological sciences and design to challenge established paradigms and envision new sustainable materials and forms of production for the future. The Lab has grown out of 8 years of Prof. Carole Collet‘s research activities at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts."
About Amy Congdon
Amy Congdon is a designer, researcher and critical thinker who explores the boundaries between design, science, and technology. In her work Amy is driven to investigate the crossovers between textile craft and tissue engineering, through a highly experimental and research driven practice. She has worked within laboratories with existing life science technologies, in particular tissue engineering, to further her research and understanding of the current capabilities of these technologies. Amy has exhibited and presented her work internationally in venues such as Microsoft Times Square Headquarters New York (Biofabricate), EDF Fondation Paris, Salone De Mobile Milan, Protein London and the Victoria and Albert Museum London. Amy has worked on projects for companies including Microsoft, Nissan, WGSN, Future Filter and Central Saint Martins. Since early 2014 Amy has been Senior Design Researcher (freelance) at Biocouture, the world's first bio creative consultancy, and is involved in the organisation of the Biofabricate conference in New York. She has also worked as Acting First Year Tutor for the MA Material Futures course at Central Saint Martins, and is currently undertaking a part-time PhD with the Design and Living Systems Lab at Central Saint Martins in collaboration with the Tissue Engineering & Biophotonics department at Kings College London.
In Vitro: "(of a biological process) made to occur in a laboratory vessel or other controlled experimental environment rather than within a living organism or natural setting."
Scaffold: "A structure of artificial or natural materials on which tissue is grown to mimic a biological process outside the body or to replace a disease or damaged tissue inside the body."
Seeding: "Seeding simply means to spread a defined amount (volume or cell number) of a cell suspension into a new flask or onto a plate [or onto a scaffold] etc."
Tissue Engineering: "Tissue engineering can perhaps be best defined as the use of a combination of cells, engineering materials, and suitable biochemical factors to improve or replace biological functions. While the semi-official definition of tissue engineering covers a broad range of applications, in practice the term has come to represent applications that repair or replace structural tissues (i.e., bone, cartilage, blood vessels, bladder, etc)."