Traditionally, biomaterials encompass synthetic alternatives to the native materials found in our body. A central limitation in the performance of traditional materials used in the medical device, biotechnological, and pharmaceutical industries is that they lack the ability to integrate with biological systems through either a molecular or cellular pathway, which has relegated biomaterials to a passive role dictated by the constituents of a particular environment, leading to unfavorable outcomes and device failure. The design and synthesis of materials that circumvent their passive behavior in complex mammalian cells is the focus of the work conducted within the MSE Department at Berkeley.
Specific examples of research activity include the design and synthesis of biomimetic materials that actively direct the behavior of mammalian cells to facilitate regeneration of tissues and organs. Major discoveries from this laboratory have centered on the control of cell behavior and tissue formation in contact with surfaces either modified with peptides or spatially distributed chemistry to induce cell differentiation. An Additional theme in the laboratory is the synthesis of biomimetic hydrogel analogues of the extracellular matrix. These materials find applications in the fields of medicine, dentristry, and biotechnology.
Biomimetic Surface Engineering:
Surface modification of medical implants to control wound healing and tissue regeneration.
Design and fabrication of surfaces, using advanced pattern techniques, to facilitate cell and molecular-based microarrays.