Faculty Investigator: Paula Hammond (MIT), Linda Griffith (MIT)
Microvascular Network Working Group (A Modular Polymer Microbead Angiogenesis Scaffold for Vascularizing Dense Epithelial Tissue, Synthetic Helical Modular Polypeptide Hydrogels for 3D Cell Culture)
Contributing Trainee(s) and corresponding trainee projects: Marianna Sofman
Proteoglycans are a broad, important class of biomacromolecules whose applications have been limited by the poor reproducibility of isolation from natural sources. Synthetic proteoglycans that capture generic compositional and biophysical features of the native counterparts offer a potential alternative as a reproducible and scalable source of proteoglycans, though many synthetic systems lack biological activity. We have developed a method to synthesize polypeptide-hyaluronic acid conjugates of various architectures that more closely mimic the composition of native proteoglycans. These conjugates exhibit biological activity distinct from constituent hyaluronic acid molecules. Furthermore, we have demonstrated an application of these conjugates in three-dimensional (3D) endothelial network formation.