High-throughput Characterization of Responsive Bio-Crosslinked Hydrogels
University of Texas at Austin
Characterization and Properties
Synthesis and Formulation
Creating materials that emulate the responsiveness, adaptability, and programmability of natural systems is key to the development of new biomaterials for a variety of applications. Our research group focuses on creating living, synthetic polymer networks out of hydrogels using the electroactive bacterium Shewanella oneidensis. Our polymerization system utilizes a special form of anaerobic respiration from S.oneidensis, called extracellular electron transfer (EET), to reduce a copper catalyst that triggers the radical crosslinking of polymer gels. Leveraging genetic control over the metabolic pathways that control EET allows us to program catalyst activation and the spatiotemporal properties of the crosslinked material. The goal of this project is to measure in situ crosslinking of hydrogels created using S. oneidensis strains with varying EET activity. Ultimately, this work will lead to the creation of biomaterials capable of sensing and responding to complex environmental stimuli.