HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Valencia, Spain or Virtually from your home or work.
Mapoloko Mpho Phiri, Speaker at Materials Conferences
Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
Title : Sustainable antimicrobial composites for bone repair


Bone fractures are inevitable and can be caused by trauma, accidents, sickness, aging, or disability . In the absence of proper care, these can lead to morbidity, amputation/permanent disability, or mortality. Traditionally, bone repair has been achieved via use of metal devices made from stainless steel, titanium, and their alloys . These are non-biodegradable, are prone to infection  and require second surgery to remove them . Current research trends are focusing on the development of polymer scaffolds, either as nanofibers , injectable hydrogels , or 3D printed scaffolds  to tackle bone rejuvenation and repair . The requirements for the polymer composite of choice are that it must be nontoxic, biocompatible, biodegradable, hydrophilic, antimicrobial, and affordable. Although the concept is not new, most of the available technologies have been developed outside Africa and are still in their infant stages and the know-how (intellectual property) is usually protected through patents.

The proposed work seeks to develop polymer scaffolds based on polyvinyl pyrrolidone in the presence of biosynthesized hydroxyapatite, bioHAP , to mimic bone composition and facilitate bone regeneration . Plant seeds extract as natural antimicrobial agents will be added to prevent infection. The scaffolds will be prepared via electrospinning and 3D printing. Thermal, mechanical, cell viability and cell adhesion properties of the composites will be presented. 

What will audience learn from your presentation?

  • This presentation has the potential to expand the scope of bone repair scaffolds research to include natural extracts hence improve and impart antimicrobial activity.  
  • The current work hopes to synthesize cheaper bone repair scaffolds based on waste materials.
  • This study will provide new information in relation to the use of selected plant/seed extracts in bone repair scaffolds.


Dr Phiri studied BSc Chemical Technology at National University of Lesotho and graduated in September 2008, she then worked as a Chemistry demonstrator for 2 years at the same University. In 2010 she enrolled for BSc Honors polymer science and joined the Prof Bert Klumperman's research group where her MSc work focused on the kinetics and mechanistic aspects of controlled radical polymerization and graduated in March 2013. Her PhD title was on the development of high solids coatings based on molecular brushes and the PhD polymer science degree was awarded in March 2017 at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She then started her journey as a Postdoctoral researcher  at Nelson Mandela University, hosted by Prof Percy Hlangothi. Here her research focused on the valorization of waste materials including waste rubber and waste polymers. Additionally, she was occasionally contracted to teach adhesion chemistry to BSc honors students and organic chemistry to advanced diploma class.  To date, she has published 6 articles in SCI(E) journals and 2 book chapters to date.