Serum Albumin Based Biomaterials: From Free-Standing Cell Scaffolds to Charge Conduction

Physical and Analytical Chemistry Seminar

Lecturer: Dr Nadav Amdursky

29 Nov 2015 @ 12:30

Location: Faculty Seminar Room

albumin (SA) is the most abundant protein in vertebrate blood, and accordingly it is also one of the cheapest commercially-available proteins. In this study we show how SA can be utilized as the building block for the formation of free-standing insoluble biomaterials, specifically, mats and hydrogels. The relative abundance and ease of isolation of SA, also makes this biomaterial highly attractive for the use in autologous applications. As the SA hydrogels have similar elastic properties to the myocardium, we have focussed on applications in cardiac tissue engineering. We have found that SA hydrogels can serve as an outstanding material for this purpose, allowing the isotonic contraction of the myocytes. We show that the fibrillar nature of the biomaterials together with the chemical composition of the protein enable efficient proton translocation along the macroscopic structure. We further demonstrate that the electron transport across the material can be tuned by chemically doping, which enables following the conductance across the material for centimetre length-scales, thus bringing it in line with common organic semi-conductors. We are now in the process of examining how the flux of protons and electrons along the SA-based scaffolds affect the electrical behaviour of both cardiac and neural cells.