One field of interest are biopolymer-based hydrogel networks derived from the extracellular matrix. Such materials inherently combine degradability, offer binding sites for cells, and match the elasticity of human tissue. Starting materials for our research are often gelatin or hyaluronan. Typical characterization techniques employed comprise physicochemical methods (IR spektroskopy, NMR spektroskopy, MALDI-ToF mass spectrometry), thermomechanical testing (stress-strain experiments, rheology, DSC), and investigation of biocompatibility.
The function of biological materials can also be determined by covalent surface functionalization. We have e.g. functionalized polyethermide with polyethers to reduce protein adsorption and thrombocyte adhesion. These would be important steps to render surfaces hemocompatible. For this purpose, we cooperate closely with the department of Biointerface Engineering. The investigation and control of protein adsorption is furthermore an important theme of the Helmholtz Virtual Institute (HVI) „Multifunctional Polymers for Biomedicine“.
For application of materials in vivo, certain projects are driven forward in close cooperation with partners within the institute as well as external partners. For example, the in vivo performance of materials is in the focus of the Helmholtz-Portfolio Theme „Technology and Medicine“ and is also considered together with the partners from the BCRT. A specific theme is the regeneration of heart defects in the EU-funded project TEH TUBE. The materials developed in our department are often tested for their potential in drug release systems, e.g. in the CRC 1112.
For more information on cooperating partners and projects mentioned here, please refer to: Cooperations