Engineering Peptide Based Materials for Regenerative Medicine; from lab to commercialisation

Professor Aline Miller, of the Polymers and Peptides Research Group, University of Manchester, will be presenting a seminar on her research. All are welcome to attend.

Abstract: Over the past two decades, significant effort has been made to develop soft materials, i.e.: hydrogels, for the design of 3D cell niches. Taking inspiration from the many millennia proteins have had to perfect their structure-property-function relationships, self-assembling peptides have emerged as a class of promising material building blocks as has they allow the design of very stable, highly versatile hydrogels for use in a variety of biomedical applications.

We have developed in our group a platform for the design of hydrogels exploiting the self-assembly of short (8-9 amino acids) β-sheet forming peptides, and the design is based on the alternation of hydrophilic and hydrophobic residues. The properties of these materials (e.g.: functional and mechanical) can easily be tailored to accommodate different cells’ needs.

We have used these novel materials for the culture of a variety of cells including: chondrocytes, osteoblasts, nucleus pulposus as well as mesenchymal stem cells. By varying the properties of the hydrogels (e.g.: stiffness, charge) we were able to design 3D niches capable of directing cell behaviour.

We are currently using these novel materials in a variety of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications (e.g.: cardiac regeneration, Barrett’s oesophagus disease).

Our results clearly demonstrate that our materials offer great promise for the design of specific 3D cell niches due to their low immunogenicity, high biocompatibility and the ability we have to control and tailor their properties.

For more information, please contact Professor Helen Gleeson.