Brian Hirt

Brian Hirt

Master student

Processing and characterisation of ADA-protein hydrogels for 3D cell culture and biofabrication


Supervisors: Jonas Hazur, Prof. Aldo R. Boccaccini

Diseases, injuries and other health issues can cause damage on tissues and organs. The approaches of tissue engineering (TE) and regenerative medicine try to solve these problems. A highly promising approach in TE is 3D-bioprinting, which mostly uses hydrogels for scaffold fabrication [1]. Especially natural based hydrogels are perfect scaffold materials due to their high biocompatibility and biodegradability [2]. Alginate-based hydrogels are a widely known subclass of natural polymer-based hydrogels, which provide similar features to the extracellular matrix of human tissue [2]. The main disadvantages of pure alginate solutions are their low capability for cell attachment as well as low viscosity at relevant concentrations which leads to imprecise printing capability [3]. To improve these properties, oxidized alginate (ADA) can be covalently crosslinked with the protein gelatine [3]. The aim of this master thesis is to investigate the possibility to use alternative proteins in combination with ADA to develope novel bioinks. Therefore, hydrogels with different protein contents will be characterized, in terms of their mechanical properties, effect on cellular behaviour, chemical structure and printability.

[1] C.J. Ferris, K.G. Gilmore, G.G. Wallace, M. in het Panhuis, Biofabrication: an overview of the approaches used for printing of living cells, Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97 (2013) 4243–4258.

[2] S. Reakasame, A.R. Boccaccini, Oxidized Alginate-Based Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering Applications: A Review, Biomacromolecules 19 (2018) 3–21.

[3] F.-F. Cai, S. Heid, A.R. Boccaccini, Potential of Laponite® incorporated oxidized alginate-gelatin (ADA-GEL) composite hydrogels for extrusion-based 3D printing, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B: Applied Biomaterials (2020).