Designer Cellulosic Biomaterials

J.M. Coburn
Worcester Polytechnic Institute,
United States

Keywords: cellulose, biomaterial, decellularize, scaffold, modifications, bacteria, plant


Significant advances in material design to interface with the human body have revolutionized the possibilities for the fields of tissue engineering and drug delivery. Biomaterials may be derived from natural sources to provide biocompatibility and mimic the unique properties of the natural materials. One such natural-derived biomaterial, cellulose, comes from many sources such as plants, algae, fungi, protists, and bacteria; it is the most abundant polymer on Earth. Significant research has gone into processing and developing cellulosic materials into many form factors for a broad range of applications. Clinically, it is used as a wound dressing. However, the challenges associated with broader translation include lack of in vivo degradation and limited chemical sites for incorporation of bioactive molecules using mild modification conditions. This talk concern our work addressing these challenges. Utilizing plant-derived materials (cells and tissues), we are developing strategies to retain recombinantly expressed proteins within decellularized matrices to direct cell responses and for drug delivery applications. Utilizing bacterial-derived cellulose, we are interested in the inclusion of alternative sugars to glucose to give rise to degradable and modifiable cellulosic membranes, particles, and scaffolds. Foreseen are designer cellulosic materials for a broader utilization in biomedical fields.