PhD Thesis Colloquium: Mr. Pritiranjan Mondal (08/04/24)

2 minute read

Thesis title:

Multifunctional hydrogels with injectable, self-healing, and shape-morphing capabilities for biomedical applications

Faculty advisor(s):

Prof. Kaushik Chatterjee


08th April, 2024 (Monday), 02:30 PM (India Standard Time)


KPA Auditorium, Department of Materials Engineering


In recent years, there has been a notable surge in interest surrounding implantable biomaterials due to their potential applications in treating physical defects and traumas. Hydrogels have garnered growing attention among implantable biomaterials due to their favorable rheological properties and adjustable structures. However, conventional hydrogel materials are prone to mechanical failures and cause patient discomfort during routine operations, which are significant challenges. This thesis presents novel findings on the development of hydrogels for biomedical applications that are endowed with superior attributes such as injectability, self-healing, and the ability to process by three-dimensional (3D) printing.

To address these shortcomings, hydrogels endowed with injectability and self-healing capabilities, enabling them to recover their structural integrity, offer numerous advantages such as vehicles for controlled, sustained, and localized delivery in a minimally invasive manner for biomedical applications. The first part of this thesis focuses on the development of a novel generation of multifunctional polysaccharide-based injectable hydrogels through rational engineering with a prolonged lifespan due to their robust self-healing nature, thus tremendously enhancing their potential for clinical translation. These hydrogels are endowed with injectability and self-healing capabilities, enabling them to recover their structural integrity and offer numerous advantages over conventional hydrogels for biomedical applications, such as vehicles for controlled, sustained, and localized delivery in a minimally invasive manner. Furthermore, a generalized easy approach for surface modification of nanomaterials with a bioligand was developed to prepare a degradable polysaccharide-based injectable hydrogel that is shown to be multifunctional, including self-healing, flexible, and antibacterial properties for biomedical applications.

Another significant limitation in the current clinical scenario is the inability to fabricate complex, patient-specific geometries and tissue architectures that will find potential applications in ex vivo tissue models, patient-specific implants and tissue scaffolds, deployable devices, soft robotics, and drug delivery systems. Manufacturing of such structures necessitates the development of techniques offering precise spatial control with excellent resolution, and advanced manufacturing in the form of three-dimensional (3D) and four-dimensional (4D) printing offers such advantages, along with the added possibility of encapsulating biological agents (cells, peptides, drugs, etc.). The second part of the thesis presents work on a novel 4D (bio)printing approach that employs biocompatible and versatile biomaterial ink design to encode an innovative shape-morphing strategy that can facilitate the development of smart solutions for challenging biomedical challenges. Finally, the potential applications of additively manufactured hydrogel structures for healthcare are now being extended to new frontiers, such as human-machine interfaces, wearable medical devices, soft robotics, biosensors, and engineered living systems. To this end, a 3D printable hydrogels endowed with conducting and anti-freezing capabilities were developed, which successfully retained other functionalities and cytocompatibility. These reversible shape deformation in 3D printed constructs in this system, which offers possibilities for use in advanced biomedical applications under extreme temperature conditions.

Taken together, the work presented in this thesis is critically important for developing tuneable, multifunctional, affordable, self-healing, and injectable hydrogel systems and 4D printable ink and techniques that are expected to find applications in healthcare, biosensors, deployable devices, and soft robotics for clinical translation.