360° of science: Biomaterial research in Teltow for humans and the environment (The video is only available in german. You can find the translation below in the transcription of the video)
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Leaving the Established Path
At the Institute of Biomaterial Science in Teltow, medical possibilities are revolutionized, artificial muscles for soft robots are created and cognition processes are dramatically accelerated.
“In the future, we’ll be increasingly confronted with age-related illnesses,” says Andreas Lendlein, director of HZG's institute of Biomaterial Science in Teltow. “That is why we’re concentrating on innovations in the fields of health, medical and bio technologies.” One of the topics the researchers are working on includes applications that support elderly people in their domestic environments before they even become sick. If tissues or organs are damaged or diseased, it is important to support the body in fully regenerating. New polymer-based biomaterials are required for this purpose. They are synthetic or semi-synthetic materials consisting of macromolecules.
“Our work spans from basic research to application,” explains the institute director. “We are searching for new ways to treat diseases that are particularly relevant for the healthcare system, improving therapies and developing alternative approaches.” In order to efficiently bring pre-clinical research into clinical development, an interdisciplinary approach is used right from the start. Biology, chemistry, materials research and medicine come together here. From research activities to the decision making, the institute collaborates closely with partners from the medical field, both in Germany and abroad.
“We are, for example, developing materials for implants that integrate fully into the tissue or that can even provide functional support,” says Lendlein. “Effects from inflammation are minimised, while regeneration processes are stimulated and ideally guided in the desired direction.” Depending on what the biomaterial implant is made of, it degrades completely within a desired period of time and until then supports the complete recovery of the surrounding tissue.
The researchers at the HZG institute use algorithms to also make leaps in the long-term behaviour predictability of polymers so that the research cycles are dramatically accelerated and their results can be applied in practice more rapidly.