Water is the main constituent of biological tissues. Biocompatible hydrogels and hydratable porous networks (e.g. porous polymer scaffolds, decellularised tissues) have been developed and characterised at different length scales to be used as scaffolding materials for 2D and 3D cell cultures or to encapsulate cells and nano-particles (e.g. pH sensors, ROS scavengers). Using different approaches, our final goal is to engineer and fabricate complex microenvironments with controlled features (e.g. architecture, mechanical properties, biochemical ligands, sensing and responsiveness) able to recreate either in vivo-like healhy, diseased or aged tissue environments in-vitro (e.g. increase of stiffness and oxidative stress associated with tissue fibrosis).
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