Introduction to biorelated polymers and their applications


Raphael M. Ottenbrite, Department of Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284
This tutorial is aimed at giving chemists enough background in the area so that they could benefit from and appreciate the papers that are being give in the International Symposium on Biorelated Polymers. Biorelated polymers encompass natural polymers, modified natural polymers and unique synthetic polymers that are designed to be mimetic to the original biopolymers and compatible with the biosystem. Early chemists developed many polymers from available natural materials and discovered several useful materials by further derivatizing these natural products to develop new materials. The field of polymer materials and therapeutics is now a major industry as these macromolecules have proven to be highly effective components of healing. The ability to tailor synthetic polymers for biocompatibility and biological function is a key element of current and future research. When synthetic polymers are engineered with the intent of acting cooperatively with biological polymers, cells, and tissue, opportunities are available to deepen our understanding of the behavior of materials in biology, and ultimately apply this knowledge towards advancing human health and vitality. Topics to be discussed in this tutorial are; polymeric drugs and drug delivery systems, bionanotechnology, biosurfaces, biosensors and hydrogel systems.