Novel Biopolymer Hydrogels for Understanding Complex Soft Tissue Biomechanics

Novel Biopolymer Hydrogels for Understanding Complex Soft Tissue Biomechanics

(FAU Funds)

Overall project:
Project leader:
Project members: , , ,
Start date: 1. April 2019
End date: 31. March 2021
Funding source:


Biological tissues such as blood vessels, skin, cartilage or nervous tissue provide vital functionality
to living organisms. Novel computational simulations of these tissues can provide insights
into their biomechanics during injury and disease that go far beyond traditional approaches. This
is of ever increasing importance in industrial and medical applications as numerical models will
enable early diagnostics of diseases, detailed planning and optimization of surgical procedures,
and not least will reduce the necessity of animal and human experimentation. However, the extreme
compliance of these, from a mechanical perspective, particular soft tissues stretches conventional
modeling and testing approaches to their limits. Furthermore, the diverse microstructure
has, to date, hindered their systematic mechanical characterization. In this project, we will, as a
novel perspective, categorize biological tissues according to their mechanical behavior and identify
biofabricated proxy (substitute) materials with similar properties to reduce challenges related
to experimental characterization of living tissues. We will further develop appropriate mathematical
models that allow us to computationally predict the tissue response based on these proxy
materials. Collectively, we will provide a catalogue of biopolymeric proxy materials for different
soft tissues with corresponding modeling approaches. As a prospect, this will significantly facilitate
the choice of appropriate materials for 3D biofabrication of artificial organs, as well as modeling
approaches for predictive simulations. These form the cornerstone of advanced medical
treatment strategies and engineering design processes, leveraging virtual prototyping.