Vol. 2, No. 6, 2007

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ISSN: 1559-3959
Microscale hydrogels for medicine and biology: synthesis, characteristics and applications

Christopher Rivest, David W. G. Morrison, Bin Ni, Jamie Rubin, Vikramaditya Yadav, Alborz Mahdavi, Jeffrey M. Karp and Ali Khademhosseini

Vol. 2 (2007), No. 6, 1103–1119
Abstract

Microscale hydrogels with dimensions of 200μm or less are powerful tools for various biomedical applications such as tissue engineering, drug delivery, and biosensors, due to their size, biocompatibility, and their controllable biological, chemical, and mechanical properties. In this review, we provide a broad overview of the approaches used to synthesize and characterize microgels, as well as their applications. We discuss the various methods used to fabricate microgels, such as emulsification, micromolding, microfluidics, and photolithography. Furthermore, we discuss the effects of porosity and crosslinking density on the mechanical and biological properties of hydrogels. In addition, we give specific examples of the use of hydrogels, such as scaffolds and cell encapsulation for tissue engineering, controlled release materials for drug delivery, and environmentally sensitive sensors for microdevices. Finally, we will discuss the future applications of this technology.

Keywords
BioMEMS, tissue engienering, biomaterials, drug delivery, hydrophilic polymer, stem cells, regenerative medicine, biosensor
Milestones
Received: 20 February 2007
Accepted: 24 February 2007
Published: 1 August 2007
Authors
Christopher Rivest
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
David W. G. Morrison
Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
Bin Ni
Department of Biological Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
Jamie Rubin
Department of Biological Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
Vikramaditya Yadav
Department of Chemical Engineering
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1
Canada
Alborz Mahdavi
Department of Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
Jeffrey M. Karp
Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
Center for Biomedical Engineering
Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115
United States
Ali Khademhosseini
Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
Center for Biomedical Engineering
Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115
United States
http://www.tissueeng.net/lab/