The Group of Characterization of Materials (GCM) and the Innovation in Materials and Molecular Engineering Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies (IMEM-BRT) research group are looking for a PhD researcher to develop his/her PhD thesis project on the development of multifunctional hybrid hydrogels for biomedical applications combining physical and chemical approaches. The ideal candidate should have a background in physics, chemistry, physical engineering, chemical engineering, or related disciplines allowing to tackle the project from an experimental point of view.
Hydrogels, and in general multicomponent biopolymer structures, are promising types of soft materials due to their intrinsic properties like high water contents, high porosity, flexibility or biocompatibility, making them ideal candidates for applications in bioelectronics and tissue engineering. However, one of the main drawbacks of most hydrogels and multicomponent polymer systems so far is their inertness. To address this issue and improve their performance, multifunctional hydrogels and polymer blends with the ability to respond to external stimuli like temperature, pressure, uniaxial stress, changes in chemical environment and electric or magnetic fields, are being developed.
This PhD thesis aims to fabricate a new generation of multitasking and stimuli-responsive hydrogels and multicomponent biopolymer blends with thermal, chemical, mechanical, electric and magnetic functionalities for biomedical applications (e.g. drug release, sensing and/or tissue regeneration). To this end, theoretical and experimental methodologies will be combined to devise and fabricate multicomponent polymer systems with improved performance for the targeted applications.
This thesis project aims to prepare, characterize and apply such new hydrogels and multicomponent polymer scaffolds. Advanced characterization studies using structural and microscopy methods, micro-Raman spectroscopy, dielectric spectroscopy and calorimetric methods, among others, will be conducted on the prepared samples, before to explore their utility in biomedicine and their performed under external stimulation.