Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry
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Topic Hydrogels for cell cultivation – design and fabrication of complex 3D morphologies, swelling and deformation behavior
Supervisor Miroslava Dušková Smrčková, PhD.
Department Polymer Networks and Gels
Description Synthetic hydrogels, due to their properties resembling living tissues, provide accurate environment for hosting cell cultures or drug delivery and thus attract interest of researchers working in both, materials science and biology fields. Ophthalmology represents another vital medical application of hydrogels, for instance, the synthetic hydrogels are used for complete replacement of biological eye lens during nowadays common eye cataract surgery. The important parameters of hydrogels in such applications, besides chemical compatibility, are content of aqueous liquids in swelling equilibrium and swollen material strength and deformability. Other parameters are porosity and optical appearance. These parameters can be controlled by selecting starting components and by topology of their polymer network structure. The work involves investigation of rules governing the swelling behavior and deformation responses of synthetic hydrogels in connection with their polymer network structure. One of the aims is to explain special mechanical responses of some macroporous hydrogels. The work includes laboratory synthesis of hydrogels of selected monomers and characterization of their swelling and mechanical responses, for instance using rheometry. The method of hydrogels preparation will also include controlled crosslinking radical polymerization. Depending on the applicant qualification, the work may include computer reconstruction of hydrogels in 3D using x-y images obtained by confocal methods.
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