Engineering customizable bio-adhesives for personalized medical repair

Juya Jeon
Graduate student Juya Jeon uses tweezers to hold the engineered hydrogel in Fuzhong Zhang’s lab. (Photo: Juya Jeon)

Traditional medical adhesives used in surgical applications often have limited bio-absorbability, high toxicity and a lack of customizability, leading to suboptimal surgical outcomes. Recent advances in synthetic biology offer a promising alternative — tailored biocompatible and biodegradable adhesives designed for specific internal biomedical applications, such as in tissue repair and for surgical glues.

Researchers working with Fuzhong Zhang, a professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, are tackling this challenge with a new class of hydrogels constructed entirely from proteins. Their programmable design allows precise control over mechanical and adhesive properties, addressing the limitations of synthetic bio-glues. The research was published Dec. 1 in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Read more on the McKelvey School of Engineering website.