Ed Abelardo's Research Page

Towards 2D and 3D scaffolds for tissue engineering in otolaryngology

My research interest is on peptide-based fibrous and hydrogel materials as potential scaffolds for 2D and 3D cell culture. Unlike many other peptide scaffolds, our system uses α-helical units. Moreover, the system comprises two complementary peptides, which combine to yield a sticky ended building block for fibre assembly. This allows for considerable control over assembly, and brings utility as either peptide can be complemented or replaced by other special peptides to bring changes in morphology and/or add function to the assembled fibres. Our previous designs, the standard SAFs, exclusively rendered thickened, lengthened and stiff fibres (dimensions ~ 50 nm x 10 μm) that settled out of solution. In the new designs, the hSAFs, the solvent-exposed surfaces of the α-helices have been engineered to promote fibre-fibre interactions and gel formation. This results in a series of responses materials with interesting properties.

Circular dichroism spectroscopy and Transmission electron microscopy data

Left: Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy data of “stripped” peptides showing the α-helical secondary structure of the designed proteins. Right: Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) picture showing long and thin fibres.