GRK 2154 - Materials for Brain

P6: Embedding implant materials into structured hydrogels (C. Selhuber-Unkel)

Cellular mechanosensing, i.e. the ability of cells to sense the mechanical properties of their environment, has in recent years become a highly important field of reseach in cell biology, biophysics and materials science. Particularly in the soft and hydrated environment of the brain it is essential to adapt the mechanical properties of implants to that of the surrounding tissue to avoid scar formation. Another important parameter is porosity, as this opens up many perspectives for controlling cell behavior and mimicking the natural extracellular environment. 

Therefore, the goal of this project is to investigate 3D porous hydrogels as coatings of brain implants. The project is intrinsically interdisciplinary as it combines different aspects from cell biology, biophysics and materials science: hydrogel synthesis and functionalization, as well as studies of cell migration, adhesion and proliferation.