Polymers provide promising strategies for gaining control over cellular behavior. Their chemical and physical properties can be precisely controlled and surface functionalization strategies can be used to control their interaction with biological material, such as cells. Numerous polymer-based systems have been developed for controlling biological interactions ranging from nano/micro-structured solid materials, elastomeric systems, surface coatings in the form of polymer brushes but also hydrogels as their water-binding capacity makes them ideal matrices. As “material and form follow function”, the polymer-based systems can be made of natural as well as synthetic polymers and in almost any shape, depending on the task they need to fulfill. Due to this versatility including their vast diverse chemical properties, polymers in many forms - including hydrogels - are widely used in biomaterials science to study effects of chemical and mechanical properties, surface topography, 3D architecture, biofunctionalization and growth factor binding on biological systems and their application in tissue engineering.
This symposium aims to bring together researchers from different fields who develop bio-instructive platforms using polymers and polymeric hydrogels. Light will be shed on the different types of polymers and hydrogels, on processing strategies such as additive manufacturing, and on their potential in fundamental biomaterials research as well as on clinical translational and biotechnological applications.