Regensburg 2022 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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BP: Fachverband Biologische Physik

BP 18: Biomaterials (joint session BP/CPP)

BP 18.1: Hauptvortrag

Mittwoch, 7. September 2022, 15:00–15:30, H15

Bottom-up molecular control of biomimetic hydrogels — •Kerstin G. Blank — Johannes Kepler University, Institute of Experimental Physics, Altenberger Str. 69, 4040 Linz, Austria

The development of biomimetic hydrogels has greatly facilitated fundamental studies aimed at understanding cellular mechanosensing and mechanotransduction processes. It is now widely accepted that cells sense the elastic and viscoelastic properties of their surroundings and respond to these properties via a range of different mechanisms. It is still unknown, however, how cells determine these material properties. Hydrogels are usually characterized as bulk samples while cells interact with these materials in a highly localized manner via specific receptor-ligand interactions. It is thus essential to adopt the cellular point of view and establish a link between microscopic and macroscopic material properties. Towards this goal, we utilize biomimetic hydrogels consisting of mechanically characterized synthetic polymers and extracellular matrix-inspired peptides that serve as physical crosslinks. Using selected examples, we show how crosslink thermodynamics, kinetics and mechanics as well as network topology affect the linear and non-linear viscoelastic properties of molecularly programmed hydrogels. In particular, we highlight that both individual crosslink properties and network topology affect network stress relaxation and show how molecular bond rupture correlates with bulk material failure. Our modular hydrogel system allows for tuning different parameters independently and thus serves as an excellent platform for disentangling the roles of different material properties on cellular responses.

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