New shape-changing 4D materials hold promise for morphodynamic tissue engineering

New hydrogel-based materials that can change shape in response to psychological stimuli, such as water, could be the next generation of materials used to bioengineer tissues and organs, according to a team of researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago led by University of Illinois Cancer Center member Eben Alsberg, the Richard and Loan Hill Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

In a new paper published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, the research team that developed the substances show that the unique materials can curl into tubes in response to water, making the materials good candidates for bioengineering blood vessels or other tubular structures.