Precision surfaces and hydrogels

Nucleation and growth of semi-crystalline surfaces and defect-free hydrogels

Using DNA-tiles and DNA-polymer hybrid structures, we explore the 2D and 3D design space of ordered, semi-crystalline surfaces and hydrogels. Combining experiments with simulations, we aim to predict the stability and rate of formation of our monomers, as well as guide the choice of monomer design. These studies are relevant for the fundamental understanding of the pathways of self-assembly and to predict physical properties of self-assembled structures based on classical soft matter theory.

The mechanical properties of both natural and synthetic extracellular matrices (ECM) greatly influence cell phenotype and function. Tunable control over synthetic ECM material properties is therefore essential for successful cell culture, as differentiation depends on the cellular environment and the biophysical signals that the latter transmits. Responsive hydrogels have great potential as substrates for cell culture, since chemical, physical and biological cues can be used to determine the cells’ phenotype and function. Our final aim is to use DNA as programmable cross-link to control the self-assembly and properties of ECM mimicking hydrogels.


A.P. Nievergelt, C. Kammer, C. Brillard, E.E. Kurisinkal, M.M.C. Bastings, A. Karimi, G.E. Fantner; Automated resonance compensation for large-range high-speed atomic force microscopy of biomolecular self-assembly in liquid, 2019, Small Methods, 3, 7, 1900031

M.M.C. Bastings, T.M. Hermans, A.J.H. Spiering, E.W.L. Kemps, L. Arbertazzi, E.E. Kurisinkal, P.Y.W. Dankers; Quantifying guest–host dynamics in supramolecular assemblies to analyze their robustness, 2019, Macromolecular Bioscience, 19, 1, 1800296

K. Hof, M.M.C. Bastings, Programmable control in extracellular matrix mimicking polymer hydrogels, 2017, CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, 71, 6, 342-348

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