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Dynamic Hydrogels and Polyelectrolytes

The subgroup “Dynamic Hydrogels and Polyelectrolytes” aims to understand the interactions between protein binding partners and polyglycerol-based networks, hydrogels, particles or carrier systems in complex biological systems. By integrating different cross-linking chemistry, polyglycerol and its derivatives have been fabricated into hydrogels for potential biological and medical applications. Furthermore, inspired by mucus, dynamic hydrogels have been formed from mucin mimetic block copolymers that possess the key structural and biological features of native glycoproteins, which can be utilized for virus trapping and microbial biofilm inhibition. It matters that the charge plays a very important role for the interactions between proteins and macromolecules. With polyglycerol sulfate based polymers charge density can be easily modulated through the multivalent concept. The synthesis and functionalization as well as cross-linking of polyglycerol sulfate based architectures to develop new polyelectrolyte systems have been done in the group. To determine binding affinities of these polyelectrolytes with biosystems, methods like surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy, isothermal titration calorimetry method (ITC), or microscale thermophoresis method (MST) are used to reveal structure activity relationships.

Figure 1

In situ Hydrogels for cell encapsulation/release (left) and polysulfate inhibitors of virus attachment (right).


  • Liang et al., Chemically Defined Stem Cell Microniche Engineering by Microfluidics Compatible with iPSCs’ Growth in 3D Culture. Biomaterials, 2022, 280,121253.
  • Nie et al., Polysulfates Block SARS‐CoV‐2 Uptake Through Electrostatic Interactions. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2021, 60, 15870.
  • Achazi et al., Understanding the Interaction of Polyelectrolyte Architectures with Proteins and Biosystems. Angew. Chemie Int. Ed., 2021, 60, 3882.
  • Nie et al., Topology‐Matching Design of an Influenza‐Neutralizing Spiky Nanoparticle‐Based Inhibitor With a Dual Mode of Action. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2020, 59, 15532.
  • Steinhilber et al., A Microgel Construction Kit for Bioorthogonal Encapsulation and pH‐Controlled Release of Living Cells. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2013, 52 13538.