Research Training Group 2154 - Materials for Brain

Florian Rasch (at University of California Los Angeles, USA)

Khademhosseini Laboratory, Center for Minimally Invasive Therapeutics (C-MIT), California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), USA (08.03.19-06.05.19)

During my 2-month stay at UCLA, I had the opportunity to work in the Khademhosseini Laboratory (led by Prof. Ali Khadhemhosseini, h-index > 116), a world-leading multidisciplinary research group developing micro/nanoscaled technologies for the purpose of minimally invasive therapeutics. The group has accumulated experience and expertise in various biomedical research fields, including tissue engineering, organ-on-a-chip, or biomaterials engineering. I was working in the biomaterials subgroup and contributed to a research project which dealt with the fabrication of a naturally derived sealant for wound healing applications. Since conventional surgical methods to repair and seal defects in highly stressed elastic tissues are insufficient, more efficient and innovative solutions are required. This study presents a novel approach by engineering a highly adhesive, biocompatible, and biodegradable biopolymer, gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA). By tuning various parameters during the synthesis of the sealant, e.g. degree of gelatin modification, photoinitiator concentration, crosslinking degree, the adhesive and mechanical properties of the hydrogel could be tailored and were also confirmed in ex vivo experiments. In conclusion, I enjoyed working in a large, multidisciplinary and international team and gained more expertise in the biomaterials engineering field. I am glad that I had the chance to spend a research stay abroad and would encourage everyone to make that experience as well.