Biomedical Engineering Seminar: Controlled Free Radical Surface Initiated Polymerisation
Old Metallurgy Building
T: (03) 8344 6606
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The use of surface initiated polymerisation (SIP) methods have become widespread as a method of modifying surfaces, particularly in the formation of polymer brush coatings and to produce coatings with advanced functionality. In the last six years CSIRO has developed and implemented a method of SIP which relies on the use of macro-initiators/iniferters (mI) or macro-chain transfer agents (mCTA) that are covalently bonded to a surface and act as initiator or chain growth sites for the formation of polymer brush coatings with very well defined properties. The method is particularly useful for controlled or living polymerisation mechanisms such as Radical Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT), Atom Transfer Radical Polymerisation (ATRP) and Initiator-Transfer-Termination (Iniferter) and can be applied to a variety of substrate materials with either simple or complex geometries.
This talk will discuss the use of mCTAs to form functional coatings for the culture of stem cells in vitro. These types of coatings can be used in at least two ways. The use of neutral monomers in the coating provides a surface useful in the formation of cell aggregates prior to a differentiation protocol (for example in the formation of embryoid bodies from pluripotent stem cells). Inclusion of a functional monomer into the coating allowed for the coupling of cell signalling or adhesion molecules which allow long term culture of either adult or pluripotent stem cells on synthetic surfaces in serum-free media. We have used both ATRP and RAFT SIP approaches to form functional coatings on electrospun nanofibres, for example for the reduction of protein adsorption (for filtration, cell culture application) and as a scaffold for potential neural tissue repair. Finally, the dewetting of polymer bilayers and ATRP has been used as a method of fabricating micropatterned polymer brush surfaces. These materials allow for the patterning of cells and can aid our understanding of how the physical and chemical environment can influence the behaviour of cells in small colonies.