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Novel Degradable Biomaterials

The new polymeric materials that we develop provide unique opportunities to tailor materials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications. The group is focussed on applying it’s wide knowledge of the synthesis of these materials and knowledge of highly efficient, orthogonal and specific chemstries to generate and study ‘designer’ materials that are able to be applied as biomaterials. Our primary interests are focussed in two main areas:

Hydrogels. We are currently investigating the synthesis of mechanically robust hydrogels from natural materials such as chitosan as well as synthetic materials. These materials are being studied as injectable materials capable of supporting stem cell differentiation to provide novel treatments for tissue regeneration.

3D printing. Our fous in this area is involved in the application of our novel degradable materials to engineer materials with micron-level control over the 3-dimensional structure, achieved by microstereolithography. We are investigating the development of materials with control over the degradation profile and the effect of microstructure and functionality on cell interactions.

Recent Highlights:

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Fabrication of 3-Dimensional Cellular Constructs via Microstereolithography Using a Simple, Three-Component, Poly(Ethylene Glycol) Acrylate-Based System. (Biomacromolecules DOI: 10.1021/bm3015736)

In this work we used a simple acrylated-based resin with a photoinitiator that at increased concentrations was also able to act as a photoinhibitor enabling the manufacture of 3D materials with micron-scale control in X, Y, and Z directions. Viability of human mesenchymal stem cells was also demonstrated showing that this simple methodology could be useful for the constructions of precisely-defined tissue engineering scaffolds.


Preparation of in situ-Forming Poly(5-methyl-5-allyloxycarbonyl-1,3-dioxan-2-one)-Poly(ethylene glycol) Hydrogels with Tuneable Swelling, Mechanical Strength and Degradability (J. Mater. Chem. B. 2013, 1, 221).

This work describes the preparation of a new class of in situ-forming poly(carbonate)-graft-poly(ethylene glycol) hybrid hydrogels. Controlling the side-chain length of the poly(ethylene glycol) allowed tuning of the equilibrium water uptake, water diffusion, mechanical properties and degradability with the swelling of the gels found to be thermoresponsive.

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We have published review articles in several areas related to our research, a summary of these articles can be found here.

Polymerisation Catalysis

Synthesis of Functional Degradable Polymers from Sustainable Resources

Self-Assembly and Ordering of Degradable Polymers

Development of Novel Degradable Biomaterials