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Research Zernike (ZIAM) News Seminars

Carsten Werner: Glycosaminoglycan-based, cell-instructive hydrogels for regenerative therapies

When:Fr 18-11-2016 11:00 - 12:00

Sulphated and non-sulphated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) can be instrumental in biomedical technologies beyond. In particular, incorporation of GAGs into biomaterials has been demonstrated to allow for the biomimetic modulation of growth factor signaling, providing control over therapeutically relevant cell fate decisions in various different settings. In an attempt to systematically explore the related options, we have introduced a rational design strategy for biology-inspired hydrogels based on multi-armed poly(ethylene glycol), GAGs and peptides (1,2,3). The theoretically predicted decoupling of biochemical and mechanical gel properties was confirmed experimentally and applied for implementing GAG-based biofunctionalization schemes to afford cell adhesiveness and morphogen presentation. A number of applications of customized GAG-based materials will be given, including inflammation-modulating wound dressings (3), cryogel particles to support cell replacement in Parkinson's disease (4) and gel matrices to enable tissue and disease in vitro models for cancer biology (5,6) and nephrotoxicity studies. In sum, our reported approach demonstrates the power of joint theoretical and experimental efforts in creating bioactive materials with specifically and independently controllable characteristics (7).