The main objective of this project is to create a new generation of smart biomaterials with great potential for tissue engineering and controlled drug delivery. Supramolecular polymers based on quadruple hydrogen bonding ureido-pyrimidinone (UPy) moieties (developed by the host group of Prof. Dr. E. W. Meijer in Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands) will be employed as a basic scaffold. To fulfill the biomaterials trinity, namely tuneable mechanical properties, biodegradability and bioactivity, we propose a unique approach to functionalize the biomaterial scaffold in order to generate biomedical activity. The combination of dynamic covalent chemistry (developed by the group of Prof. Dr. Jean-Marie Lehn in Louis Pasteur University, France where the applicant comes from) and non-covalent UPy-UPy hydrogen bonding allows for a modular (self-assembly) and orthogonal (self-sorting) approach to control cellular behaviour and activity both in vitro and in vivo. Due to their dynamic characters on both non-covalent and reversible covalent levels, they can be considered as constitutional double dynamic biomaterials, capable of response to different external stimuli (pH, temperature etc.), thus behaving as adaptive biomaterials. The results that will emerge from the current proposal are of particular interest for the fields of regenerative medicine and controlled drug delivery, which have a remarkable impact in human health care. This project will initiate the first cooperation between the host group and the group the applicant comes from, to tackle a major challenge for chemical biologists. Hence, it will contribute to European research and transfer of knowledge.
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