Title: "Synthetic Polypeptide Materials for Biomedical Applications"
Abstract: "Using custom synthetic methods, we have prepared block copolypeptides containing a variety of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic domains. Recently we have also developed strategies to attach or incorporate biologically active functionality to these materials in a straightforward scalable process. In these copolypeptides, we have used ordered -helical chain conformations present in the block domains to dictate their self-assembly in aqueous solution, resulting in the formation of a variety of structures, such as micelles, membranes, and fibrils. One family of assemblies, diblock copolypeptide hydrogels (DCH) are synthetic materials whose properties can be varied by altering copolymer chain length or composition and are of potential interest for biomaterial applications. We have studied the biocompatibility of DCH in the central nervous system (CNS) of mice using light microscopy, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Our findings show that DCH are injectable, form 3-dimensional deposits in vivo, are biocompatible in brain and spinal cord tissue and represent a new class of synthetic biomaterials with potential as depots or scaffolds in the CNS. Details of the design, application and optimization of DCH for biological uses will be presented."