What might we achieve with materials that behave like living things? That’s the question driving biomaterials scientists, who investigate ways in which man-made substances might be influenced to imitate nature. The field holds special relevance for areas such as medical research.
Current projects include developing smart materials that can perform sophisticated functions, such as targeted drug delivery, tissue regeneration and self-assembly in the body. “We’re trying to create biomaterials that can interact with the surrounding tissues,” says Helena Azevedo, senior lecturer in biomedical engineering and biomaterials at Queen Mary University of London.