Sonja Kuth, M. Sc.
Development of hydrogel matrices for soft tissue applications
Supervisor: Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Aldo R. Boccaccini
When designing a matrix for tissue engineering applications considerable requirements must be fulfilled in relation to the physical, mechanical and biological properties of the materials. The matrix stiffness, for example, plays a crucial role dictating cell adhesion, proliferation and differentiation . It is well known that the stiffness of soft tissues in the human body range between 24 MPa for cartilage and 0.1 kPa for brain tissue . Hydrogels are hydrophilic polymers, formed from homopolymers, copolymers or macromers that can absorb thousands of their weight in water. Their stiffness can be varied by controlling the concentration, crosslinking density and components. In this project different polysaccharide and protein based hydrogels (and their combinations) will be evaluated and modified for the 3D printing of soft tissue matrices. Part of the project is being carried out in the framework of the EFI (Emerging Fields Initiative) project “Novel Biopolymer Hydrogels for Understanding Complex Tissue Biomechanics “ of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
 S. R. Caliari and J. A. Burdick, “A practical guide to hydrogels for cell culture,” Nat. Methods, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 405–414, 2016.
 J. Thiele, Y. Ma, S. M. C. Bruekers, S. Ma, and W. T. S. Huck, “25th anniversary article: Designer hydrogels for cell cultures: A materials selection guide,” Adv. Mater., vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 125–148, 2014.