Disputation: Insights into Covalent Chemistry for the Developmen­t of Biomaterials

Covalent cross-linking chemistry is currently exploited in the preparation of biomaterial for biomedical applications. Choice of these chemistries for the preparation of biomaterials and bioconjugates strongly influences the biological output of these materials. Therefore, this thesis aims to develop novel bioconjugation strategies understanding their advantages and drawbacks. Our results provide new insight to adapt these chemical transformations for a specific application. The first part of this thesis points out the relevance of tuning different properties of biomaterials with specific emphasis on the development of hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogels.

The second part of the thesis describes how different chemical transformations including hydrazone formation (Paper I), thiazolidine formation (Paper II), cross-aldol addition reaction (Paper III) and disulfide formation (Paper IV) dictate material properties. This thesis explores both basic organic reaction mechanism and application of these reactions to influence material characteristics. The detailed study of the reaction conditions, kinetics, and stability of the products will help to understand the mechanical properties, hydrolytic stability, and degradability of the materials described here. Additionally, we performed degradation studies of gadolinium labeled HA hydrogels using magnetic resonance imaging. Furthermore, we also explored post-synthetic modification of hydrogels to link model fluorescent moieties as well as explored the tissue adhesive properties using Schiff-base formation.

In summary, this thesis presents a selection of different covalent chemistries for the design of advanced biomaterials. The advantages and disadvantages of these chemistries are rigorously investigated. We believe, such an investigation provides a better understanding of the bioconjugation strategies for the preparation of biomaterials with potential clinical translation