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Multicompartmentalized hydrogels as models of functional prototissues

Grant number: 23/10643-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2024
Effective date (End): December 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Physical-Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Watson Loh
Grantee:Giovanni Bortoloni Perin
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/12071-6 - Tailoring colloids through supramolecular interactions: from fundamentals to applications, AP.TEM


Mimicking nature has been an important strategy for the development of synthetic structures with characteristics like the structures found in living beings. Proto-organelles, protocells and prototissues are defined as synthetic structures that mimic their biological analogues and their recent development has provided advances in biomaterials. This project aims at the preparation of multicompartmentalized hydrogels as a model of functional prototissues. The prototissues will be formed by the covalent incorporation of proto-organelles based on complex coacervate core micelles (C3Ms) loaded with enzymes into a hydrogel that mimics the extracellular matrix of tissues. The functionality of the prototissue will be its responsive mechanical behavior towards pH changes, which will be controlled by enzymatic reactions inside the C3Ms, driving the formation of species that increase/decrease the medium pH. Their mechanical behavior will be monitored by compression analyses and the enzymatic reaction by pH measurements. These hydrogels will be prepared by crosslinking polysaccharides containing aldehyde and amine groups via the formation of reversible imine bonds, which are formed in basic and broken in acidic pHs. C3Ms loaded with enzymes will be constructed using the block copolymer poly(ethyl oxazoline)-poly(methacrylic acid), poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride), and the enzymes glucose oxidase and urease. The copolymer poly(ethyl oxazoline)-poly(methacrylic acid) will be synthesized combining the cationic ring-opening polymerization and reversible addition-fragmentation chain-transfer polymerization and will be functionalized with terminal amine groups to act as an extra crosslinking agent.

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