Next generation hydrogels for 3D tissue engineering: From simple bioinks to complex ECM mimics – Presented by Matthew Baker, MERLN Institute

Next generation hydrogels for 3D tissue engineering: From simple bioinks to complex ECM mimics – Presented by Matthew Baker, MERLN Institute

The use of hydrogels as a 3D environment for tissue engineering and as a soft biomaterial scaffold remains one of the most promising and successful material classes, with a long history of development. However, our tool-box for materials remains surprisingly limited, especially when considering the need for customizability. Our lab attacks this problem from two fronts: 1) We use simple, straightforward, and reliable chemical functionalization to create user-friendly “bioinks” for 3D printing of soft tissue constructs, and 2) We create bioinspired hydrogels, based on supramolecular self-assembly, that more closely recapitulate the dynamic nature, structure, and function of the native extracellular matrix (ECM). We ultimately aim to create straightforward and reliable hydrogels, which are robust enough to allow for biofabrication, while being dynamic enough to recapitulate the native cellular environment.

Interview

What drives you?

The ability to take something that Nature has taken millions of years to perfect, dissect it, and try to synthetically recreate the function. 2) The surprise, even after all these years, that Chemistry actually works.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?

In the chemical fields, self-assembly and protein-protein interactions remain enormously underexplored and hold immense potential in the future. While these may be on the long-run, personal medicine and machine learning for medicine have the ability to quickly change our lives in the short-run.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?

The creation and control of life-like complex molecular networks and structures will eventually become routine. Though we may never reach a truly synthetic cell, it may become hard to tell the difference.

What do you hope people to learn from your presentation?

Biomaterials do not need to be complicated, but should likely be complex.

About Matthew Baker
Matthew’s interests are in the synthesis and characterization of soft and dynamic materials to mimic and manipulate the cellular environment. We like to use reversible supramolecular interactions to build these materials and look forward to the use of mechanochemistry to influence and measure cellular responses.
Matthew received his B.S. from Clemson University and his PhD in 2012 in Physical Organic Chemistry, led by Prof. Ronald K. Castellano at the University of Florida. He then moved to TU Eindhoven under guidance of Prof. E. W. Meijer. In May 2015, he joined the MERLN Institute as a researcher, with promotion to assistant professor in 2017.

About MERLN Institute
MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine. MERLN aims to maintain a leading position in the field of biomedical engineering by combining creative research with training of a generation of interdisciplinary scientists. MERLN’s activities operate at the interface of biology and engineering and we aim to maximize outreach at the level of public involvement, development and commercialization of research. MERLN’s vision is based on sharing of knowledge, infrastructure and ambition.

3D Medical Printing ConferenceAbout 3D Medical Conference
On January 30-31, 2018, MECC Maastricht, The Netherlands, will host a two-day event focused on 3D Medical Printing. Each day has different topics.

Day 1, Jan 30:

Day 2, Jan 31:

The audience, a mix of academics, medical professionals, business, technology, regulation and creatives, will get an excellent overview and insight in the medical tech developments from different perspectives.

Combination tickets are available and can be purchased on any of the conference websites

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