The core of our research integrates concepts from organic synthesis, polymer physics, and materials engineering to design and assemble advanced polymeric materials. Organic synthesis provides a handle over molecular scale details; polymer physics enables an understanding of how molecular assembly controls emergent macroscale properties; materials engineering facilitates processing, scalable production, and implementation of our rationally-designed materials in a variety applications.
We have used these approaches for the fabrication of a unique class of photoresponsive hydrogels that enable user-tunable and spatiotemporal control over material properties with light. These gels are fabricated from bio-orthogonal chemistries allowing them to be employed in the presence of mammalian cells. We have additionally employed these concepts to develop a class of shear-thinning and self-healing moldable hydrogels comprised of polymer-nanoparticle (PNP) interactions. Self-assembled PNP gels leverage supramolecular interactions that allow them to flow upon applied stress and rapidly reform once the stress is relaxed, enabling a variety of biomedical and industrial applications.
Tibbitt, M.W.*; Rodell, C.B.*; Burdick, J.A.; Anseth, K.S. "Progress in material design for biomedical applications" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015, in press.
Appel, E.A.; Tibbitt, M.W.; Greer, J.M.; Fenton, O.S.; Kreuls, K.; Anderson, D.G.; Langer, R. "Exploiting Electrostatic Interactions in Polymer-Nanoparticle Hydrogels" ACS Macro Letters, 2015, 4, 848-852.
Appel, E.A.*; Tibbitt, M.W.*; Webber, M.J.; Mattix, B.A.; Veiseh, O.; Langer, R. "Self-assembled hydrogels utilizing polymer-nanoparticle interactions" Nature Communications, 2015, 6, 6295.
Tibbitt, M.W.; Kloxin, A.M.; Sawicki, L.A.; Anseth, K.S. "Mechanical properties and degradation of chain and step-polymerized photodegradable hydrogels" Macromolecules, 2013, 46, 2785-2792.
Shenoy, R.; Tibbitt, M.W.; Anseth, K.S.; Bowman, C.N. "Formation of core-shell particles by interfacial radical polymerization initiated by a glucose oxidase-mediated redox system" Chemistry of Materials, 2013, 25, 761-767.
Kloxin, A.M.; Tibbitt, M.W.; Anseth, K.S. "Synthesis of photodegradable hydrogels as dynamically tunable cell culture platforms" Nature Protocols, 2010, 5, 1867-1887.