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Title: Controlling the interfaces of supramolecular hydrogels for tissue culture application
Author: Sitsanidis, Efstratios D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 8865
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2018
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The research work undertaken focused on the preparation and characterization of novel low molecular weight (LMW) hydrogels as functional biomaterials for tissue culture applications. To achieve this objective, new LMW compounds (as potential hydrogelators) were synthesized bearing a galactosamine or glucosamine moiety. The incorporation of carbohydrates was anticipated to confer molecular recognition of certain biomolecules upon the formed supramolecular gels and therefore act as potential anchor sites for cell-binding. The synthesis was based on short synthetic routes and low-cost starting materials were used as supplied. The target compounds were not confined only to those containing carbohydrates. A cinnamoyl-protected diphenylalanine hydrogelator was prepared and the properties of its corresponding hydrogel were investigated. Understanding the self-assembly mechanisms of supramolecular hydrogels is fundamental for the preparation and application of these novel materials. Therefore, a variety of techniques were employed for assessing and characterisation of gelation and to determine the configurational alignment of the formed fibres within the three-dimensional network of the gels. Specifically, the preparation and handling of hydrogels were optimized leading to robust gelation protocols. TEM and SEM microscopy revealed the size, shape and perplexing patterns of the fibres. XRD measurements verified polymorphism whereas rheology studies confirmed the viscoelastic properties of the gels. Non-covalent intermolecular interactions are the driving forces of the molecular packing, leading to higher order architectures. The combined spectroscopic analysis of the prepared hydrogels (by NMR, IR, UV-vis, CD) was advantageous to explore the nature of such interactions and allow the identification of key functional groups which actively participated in the self-assembly process. As a result of the CD work undertaken, utilisation of a synchrotron facility led to the establishment of a protocol for the evaluation of LMW hydrogels by SRCD spectroscopy, which was recently published. Finally, a preliminary biocompatibility study was undertaken to assess the toxicity of the hydrogels upon brain cancer cells. This project therefore required an interdisciplinary approach which involved the synthesis of a number of LMW compounds where some were found to be hydrogelators. This led to the preparation of their corresponding hydrogels and the study of their microscopic/macroscopic properties for the development of novel biocompatible materials suitable for tissue culture applications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Q Science