Supramolecular Biomaterials (Appel - Stanford)


“Supramolecular Biomaterials: From Fundamentals to Advanced Healthcare Solutions”

Prof. Eric Appel
Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering
Stanford University


Hydrogels are an important class of biomaterial that have received much attention for tissue engineering and controlled drug-delivery applications on account of their similarity to soft biological tissue and highly tunable mechanical properties. Supramolecular hydrogels are dynamically cross-linked polymer networks exhibiting viscous flow under shear stress (shear-thinning) and rapid recovery of mechanical properties when the applied stress is relaxed (self-healing). These properties afford minimally invasive implantation in vivo though direct injection or catheter delivery, contributing to rapid growth in interest in their application in drug delivery and tissue engineering. Herein we discuss the preparation and application of shear-thinning, injectable hydrogels driven by non-covalent interactions between modified biopolymers (BPs) and biodegradable nanoparticles (NPs) comprised of poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(lactic acid) (PEG-b-PLA). Owing to the non-covalent interactions between PEG-b-PLA NPs and BPs, the hydrogels flow under applied stress and their mechanical properties recover completely within seconds when the stress is relaxed, demonstrating the shear-thinning and injectable nature of the material. Moreover, the hierarchical construction of these biphasic hydrogels allows for multiple therapeutic compounds to be entrapped simultaneously and delivered with differential release profiles in vitro and in vivo. Delivery of the loaded therapeutics is controlled both by Fickian diffusion from the hydrogel and erosion-based release from the gel surface and can be tuned over several months, enabling novel long-term treatment strategies. Overall, this presentation will demonstrate the facile synthesis of an injectable hydrogel platform affording minimally invasive application in vivo and controlled release of therapeutics.

Speaker Background

Eric A. Appel is an Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Stanford University. He received his BS in Chemistry and MS in Polymer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Eric performed his MS thesis research with Robert D. Miller and James L. Hedrick at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, CA. He then obtained his PhD in Chemistry working in the lab of Dr. Oren A. Scherman in the Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis at the University of Cambridge. His PhD research focused on the preparation of dynamic and stimuli-responsive supramolecular polymeric materials. For his PhD work, Eric was the recipient of the Jon Weaver PhD prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Graduate Student Award from the Materials Research Society. Upon graduating from Cambridge, he was awarded a National Research Service Award from the NIH (NIBIB) and pursued a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship at MIT working with Robert S. Langer on the development of supramolecular biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering. During his post-doctoral work, he received a Margaret A. Cunningham Immune Mechanisms in Cancer Research Award. He has over 30 peer-reviewed publications, 9 issued or pending patents, and recently received a Hellman Faculty Fellowship and a Terman Faculty Fellowship.


Monday, August 22


Michael’s at Shoreline
2960 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA



6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration  $30 $15
Registration $35 $20
Walk-in (not guaranteed) $40 $25

Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register below or contact:

Jennifer Hoffman
phone: 650-339-0756

Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Monday, August 15 for early registration discount.
5:00PM, Sunday, August 21 for regular registration.

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Broiled Salmon with lemon beurre blanc
Chicken - Breast of Chicken, Picatta
Vegetarian - Eggplant Parmagiana

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Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.