X03: Engineering brain tissue-like matrices
Hydrogels are 3D networks of hydrophilic polymer chains that have been crosslinked by different mechanisms (covalent, ionic, etc.). Due to the similarities to the native extracellular matrix and the high degree of modifiability especially in stiffness and degradation kinetics, hydrogels provide ideal conditions for the use in any application where native tissue must be mimicked, replaced or simulated. X03 will engineer artificial brain tissue via hydrogel-based substitute materials with complex mechanical properties similar to those of certain areas of native brain tissue. To this end, oxidised polysaccharides (most importantly hyaluronic acid) will be combined with different proteins and extracellular matrix components to alter the material’s physico-chemical properties and to provide biochemical functionalities. The material properties will be thoroughly assessed using the different techniques used by the participating groups of EBM. To analyse the influence of specific material properties on cell fate, the amount of different chemical crosslinking functional groups will be varied to exclusively alter stiffness- or stress-relaxation behaviour while keeping the basic hydrogel components constant.
Project leader: Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Aldo R. Boccaccini
Positions: 1 doctoral researcher