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Synthesis of Functional Hydrogels

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Front. Chem. | doi: 10.3389/fchem.2018.00621

Dynamics inside nano/micro-scale bio-hybrid system

 Zhuojun Dai1* and Shuqiang Huang1
  • 1Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (CAS), China

Soft nano- or microgels made by natural or synthetic polymers have been investigated intensively because of their board applications. Due to their porosity and biocompatibility, nano- or microgels can be integrated with various biologics to form a bio-hybrid system. They can support living cells as a scaffold; entrap bioactive molecules as a drug carrier or encapsulate microorganisms as a semi-permeable membrane. Especially, researchers have created various modes of functional dynamics into these bio-hybrid systems. From one side, the encapsulating materials can respond to the external stimulus and release the cargo. From the other side, cells can respond to physical or chemical properties of the matrix and differentiate into a specific cell type. With recent advancements of synthetic biology, cells can be further programed to respond to certain signals, and express therapeutics or other functional proteins for various purposes. Thus, the integration of nano- or microgels and programed cells becomes a potential candidate in applications spanning from biotechnology to new medicines. This brief review will first talk about several nano- or microgels systems fabricated by natural or synthetic polymers, and further discuss their applications when integrated with various types of biologics. In particular, we will concentrate on the dynamics embedded in these bio-hybrid systems, to dissect their designs and sophisticated functions.

Keywords: Nano/microgels, Synthetic Biology, Fabrication technology, Bio-hybrid system, dynamics

Received: 27 Aug 2018; Accepted: 30 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Weifeng Zhao, Sichuan University, China

Reviewed by:

Ning Cheng, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
Xibo Pei, Sichuan University, China  

Copyright: © 2018 Dai and Huang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Zhuojun Dai, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (CAS), Shenzhen, China, zj.dai@siat.ac.cn