Advanced polymers for transfusion medicine and biology: Novel approaches for therapeutics, cell-surface engineering, biocompatible surfaces and proteomics reagents

Most simply, biomaterials are materials that interact with biological systems to perform, augment, or replace a function that has been lost through disease or injury. Biomaterials have played a critical role in the advancement of modern medical treatments and are key components in medical devices, equipment, and processes. As some examples, biomaterials are essential for the manufacture of artificial hearts, contact lenses, artificial hips, dental materials, stents, and are involved in drug delivery systems and blood storage bags. While biomaterials based on synthetic polymers are extremely versatile, they also come with significant problems. Most materials were not specifically designed for medical use, and, as a result, issues such as biocompatibility and biodegradation can create serious side-effects such as inflammation, immune reactions, local tissue damage, and ultimately the device rejection. Dr. Jayachandran Kizhakkedathu is working to address these challenges by creating new biomaterials designed specifically for use in biological systems. His research group integrates advanced polymer design and chemistry, biological analyses, and animal models to address this important problem. The knowledge and technologies developed in this program will significantly improve our understanding of how synthetic materials interact with human body. Importantly Dr. Kizhakkedathu hopes that the development of new biomaterials will help to advance medical science by inspiring innovative new treatments for cardiovascular diseases and blood disorders and by creating new diagnostic tools and devices.