Protein hydrogels can be genetically engineered to promote the growth of specific cells.



Johns Hopkins University researchers have created a new class of artificial proteins that can assemble themselves into a gel and encourage the growth of selected cell types.

This biomaterial, which can be tailored to send different biological signals to cells, is expected to help scientists who are developing new ways to repair injured or diseased body parts.



“We’re trying to give an important new tool to tissue engineers to help them do their work more quickly and efficiently,” said James L. Harden, whose lab team developed the new biomaterial. “We’re the first to produce a self-assembling protein gel that can present several different biological signals to stimulate the growth of cells.”



Harden, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, reported on his work March 28 in Anaheim, Calif., at the 227th national meeting of the American Chemical Society. His department is within the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins.



Tissue engineers use hydrogels…



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