Research programs

The Biomaterials research group focusses on the design and synthesis of bioinspired functional biomaterials. The main goals are:
1. To develop methods to specifically modify biomaterials surfaces
2. To develop and study functional supramolecular hydrogel systems
3. To translate these biomaterials to applications in the field of regenerative medicine, with a focus on renal, cardiovascular and ophthalmology applications.

The biomedical application of different supramolecular polymeric biomaterials held together via directed, non-covalent interactions is the central theme.
The Biomaterials research group develops various material solutions for the cardiovascular field. Vascular grafts with feedback response mechanisms in steering anti-thrombogenicity are being developed, as well as grafts with antimicrobial properties. In addition, an endocardium-mimicking coating for an artificial soft robotic heart and hydrogels for drug delivery into the infarcted myocardium are being designed and investigated. In the field of renal applications, the Biomaterials research group develops biomaterials to steer the culturing of kidney organoids and to investigate kidney maturation by modifying certain key factors in this process. In the recently added field of ophthalmology the goal is to develop a cornea using in-situ tissue engineering approaches utilizing supramolecular hydrogels and synthetic membranes as platforms. The Biomaterials group also employs supramolecular biomaterials to be used as pelvic floor meshes to prevent prolapse, and supramolecular hydrogels to treat peritoneal cancer.

Another goal of the Biomaterials group is to develop a synthetic extracellular matrix that could be used for a wide variety of applications in regenerative medicine and beyond. The focus in this research is on the incorporation of ECM mimetic components in the supramolecular biomaterials and investigate the role of dynamics in these systems. Recently, we also started to investigate the high throughput screening of supramolecular biomaterials for various biomedical applications.

Controlled surface modifications for regulating cell-material interactions

  • Covalent chemistry at supramolecular surfaces
  • Anti-microbial and anti-infective surfaces
  • Bioinspired materials and dynamic reciprocity
  • Surface-initiated polymerizations

Elastomeric supramolecular materials

  • Materials for vascular grafts
  • Coatings as a synthetic endocardium
  • Membranes for a bioartificial kidney
  • Meshes for pelvic floor repair
  • High throughput screening of modular materials
  • Featured ICMS animations

Supramolecular hydrogels

  • Control of the mechanical properties
  • Regulation of drug-material affinity
  • Drug delivery vehicles for the treatment of myocardial infarction
  • Steering kidney organoid growth and maturation
  • Corneal replacement materials