Symposium SM05—Supramolecular Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine and Drug Delivery
The practice of crafting functional soft materials, well-suited to important tasks in biology and medicine, can be guided by the rational design of its constituting units at the molecular level. The covalent and non-covalent interactions that define such a material begin with chemical structures of the constituting motif as well as its supramolecular chemistry (i.e., “chemistry beyond the molecule”). By this approach, materials with controllable properties across multiple length scales are formed with properties arising from their supramolecular make-up, including being reversible, highly tunable, and dynamic. As such, the creation of supramolecular materials has become an exciting new direction in the field of engineered biomaterials. The reliance on specific, non-covalent interactions affords opportunities in developing materials with “smart” functionality or activity that can be tuned in response to a specific application. Moreover, conserving the specific supramolecular motif realizes a modular approach to customize a material to address a specific need or therapeutic application. These efforts have resulted in a suite of new and highly functional biomaterials and nanotechnologies for applications in cell biology, regenerative medicine, and drug delivery. In each of these cases, unique features rooted in supramolecular design give rise to important emergent properties.