More than just bare scaffolds: towards multi-component and decorated fibrous biomaterials

DN Woolfson, ZN Mahmoud

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197 Citations (Scopus)


We are entering a new phase in biomaterials research in which rational design is being used to produce functionalised materials tailored to specific applications. As is evident from this Themed Issue, there are now a number of distinct types of designed, self-assembling, fibrous biomaterials. Many of these are ripe for development and application for example as scaffolds for 3D cell culture and tissue engineering, and in templating inorganic materials. Whilst a number of groups are making headway towards such applications, there is a general challenge to translate a wealth of excellent basic research into materials with a genuine future in real-life applications. Amongst other contemporary aspects of this evolving research area, a key issue is that of decorating or functionalising what are mostly bare scaffolds. There are a number of hurdles to overcome to achieve effective and controlled labelling of the scaffolds, for instance: maintaining biocompatibility, i.e., by minimising covalent chemistry, or using milder bioconjugation methods; attaining specified levels of decoration, and, in particular, high and stoichiometric labelling; introducing orthogonality, such that two or more functions can be appended to the same scaffold; and, in relevant cases, maintaining the possibility for recombinant peptide/protein production. In this critical review, we present an overview of the different approaches to tackling these challenges largely for self-assembled, peptide-based fibrous systems. We review the field as it stands by placing work within general routes to fibre functionalisation; give worked examples on our own specific system, the SAFs; and explore the potential for future developments in the area. Our feeling is that by tackling the challenges of designing multi-component and functional biomaterials, as a community we stand to learn a great deal about self-assembling biomolecular systems more broadly, as well as, hopefully, delivering new materials that will be truly useful in biotechnology and biomedical applications (107 references).
Translated title of the contributionMore than just bare scaffolds: towards multi-component and decorated fibrous biomaterials
Original languageEnglish
EditionChemical Society Review
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Other: Critical Review

Structured keywords

  • Bristol BioDesign Institute




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