Design and development of macroporous scaffolds trough cryostructuring of polymeric matrices: effect of composition and polymerization conditions on cryogel microstructure and properties
|Alessandra Adrover||Componenti strutturati del gruppo di ricerca|
|Stefano Cerbelli||Componenti strutturati del gruppo di ricerca|
|Claudia Venditti||Dottorando/Assegnista/Specializzando componente non strutturato del gruppo di ricerca|
|Chiara Brandelli||Dottorando/Assegnista/Specializzando componente non strutturato del gruppo di ricerca|
In this project, macroporous chemical cryogels based on natural and/or synthetic polymers will be investigated to create a novel platform with potential application in the biomedical and pharmaceutical fields. Cryogels have been investigated extensively, however, to further advance their true translational potential, they need to be designed with precise structure, morphology and topography. Key understanding on how cryostructures can be precisely designed with biomimetic properties such as alignment, mechanical strength, flexibility still needs to be addressed. Therefore, the main objective of this project will be the design and development of polymeric scaffolds that can facilitate the proliferation of cells and the accurate development of a reproducible procedure for the synthesis and opportune characterization of the fabricated scaffolds. To reach this goal, the polymeric networks will be produced using the procedure of cryogelation to allow the chemical crosslinking of specifically synthesized macromers/monomers. Many parameters will be varied to modulate the chemical, physical and mechanical properties of the cryogels. These include the freezing rate, the freezing temperature, the concentration of the gel precursors, and the rate of the crosslinking reaction. The developed cryogels will be characterized for porosity, swelling, and elasticity and compared to the corresponding hydrogels prepared at room temperature to get a deeper insight into the structure-property relationships of such soft materials. Appropriate transport models will be developed to assess the effective permeability, swelling and release kinetics of the resulting sponge-like macroporous system to quantify the actual facilitation of cellular infiltration and trafficking, as opposed to the more limited diffusion capability characteristic of traditional homophase hydrogels.