Guest Seminar - Designed Synthetic Protein Hydrogels with Predictable and Controllable Mechanical Properties for Biomedical Applications
Designing synthetic protein hydrogels with tailored mechanical properties similar to naturally occurring tissues remains an enduring challenge in tissue engineering and stem cell and cancer research. Although there have been attempts to correlate the mechanical properties of protein hydrogels with the nanomechanics of individual building blocks, the correlation has been qualitative rather than quantitative. In this talk, we use single-molecule force spectroscopy, protein engineering and theoretical modeling to rationally design and regulate the macroscopic mechanical properties of hydrogels by considering the force-activated events at the molecular level. We further demonstrate the engineering of hydrogels of combined high strength, toughness, fast-recovery, and anti-fatigue properties. Finally, we show the use of designed hydrogels for various biomedical applications.