Biomaterials with “Frankenstein Proteins” Help Heal Tissue


In North Carolina, biomedical engineers from Duke University and Washington University in St. Louis demonstrated that, by injecting an artificial protein made from a solution of ordered and disordered segments, a solid scaffold forms in response to body heat, and in a few weeks seamlessly integrates into tissue. Essentially, the biomaterial solidifies at body temperature and integrates into wounds to help cells grow.

The ability to combine these segments into proteins with unique properties will allow researchers to precisely control the properties of new biomaterials for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

“We were curious to see what types of materials we could make by adding order to an otherwise highly disordered protein,” said Stefan Roberts, a PhD student in the lab of Ashutosh Chilkoti and first author on the paper.