Tissue engineering requires the availability of polymer materials that can support cells and the development of tissues. Many synthetic materials are tough, easily fabricated and non-toxic. However, many synthetic materials can illicit immune responses to varying degrees. The best polymers in this respect are hydrogels containing little or no charge but high water content hydrogels are often weak materials and this limits their use. In this project we will bring together a number of aspects of our work in this area. We will use the observation that alkyl amines promote the growth of epithelial tissue, the synthesis of functional polymers using ozonolysis techniques, and the synthesis and cytocompatibility of conetworks.
Our aim will be to produce tough hydrogels based on polyurethanes (some of which will be degradable, with amine functionality for the support of epithelial cells and carboxylic acid groups for the support of other cells). The work will involve novel polymer synthesis, characterisation and cell culture, using techniques established in our laboratories.