Mankind has been using available materials to solve health issues since early times. Wood, bone and glass are some of the materials with more ancient reported uses in health. During the 19th century, the development of Chemistry and the progressive advance of Technology have allowed researchers to start designing materials for health applications paying attention to specific design parameters. Nowadays, this multidisciplinary field combines the expertise of biomedical engineers, biologists, chemists, physicists, physicians, and computer scientists, among others, to approach successful strategies to address major health problems in Society.
A biomaterial can be defined as a substance that has been engineered to take a form which, alone or as part of a complex system, is used to direct, by control of interactions with components of living systems, the course of any therapeutic or diagnostic procedure, in human or veterinary medicine. Any biomaterial must satisfy, at least, the requirement of biocompatibility, defined as the ability not to induce toxic or harmful effects and promote adequate cell/tissue responses on the biological system in which is incorporated.1 Major aspects to elucidate in the design of novel smart biomaterials are summarized in the figure below.
In our laboratory, we are devoted to the design and development of novel biomaterials of varied compositions (since graphene to organic biodegradable elastomers) for biomedical applications including tissue engineering of cardiovascular, bone and neural tissues.
1 Williams, Biomaterials 2009.