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A couple of ongoing projects in the group is looking at the applicability of mucins as materials. For instance, Dr. Hongji Yan is working on mucin hydrogel and their immune modulating properties and Georgia Petrou is working on their wound healing properties. I started working on mucins in the group of Katharina Ribbeck at MIT back in 2011. Freshly out of a PhD during which I assembled biomaterials from natural biopolymers such as heparin and hyaluronic acid, I saw mucins as extraordinary multifunctional molecules with largely untapped potentials.

And so, along with excellent colleagues at MIT, I started to build thin films, coatings, and hydrogels from mucin, exploring their antifouling properties, their dynamicity, their lubricity and hydration, and their ability to bind and release drugs. While building these materials and exploring their properties, we learn more about the mucins molecules and their physiological role. But we also explore new approaches to solving important biomedical challenges.

We are not alone to do this. Several other groups in the world are or have started exploring the use of mucins as a building block of biomaterials. The field is only nascent and was lacking a review article to give an overview of what has been achieved to this day. Georgia Petrou and I have filled that gap with a review article just published RCS’s Biomaterials Science: Petrou, G. & Crouzier, T. Mucins as multifunctional building blocks of biomaterials. Biomater Sci (2018). doi:10.1039/c8bm00471d).

The article is open access, and can be accessed on the publisher’s website here are on our publication page.

Watch out my tweeter feed (@ThomasCrouzier) for a few fun facts about mucin extracted from the paper #mucinsrock !!

 

Abstract:

Mucins are large glycoproteins that are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. Mucins coat the surfaces of many cell types and can be secreted to form mucus gels that assume important physiological roles in many animals. Our growing understanding of the structure and function of mucin molecules and their functionalities has sparked interest in investigating the use of mucins as building blocks for innovative functional biomaterials. These pioneering studies have explored how new biomaterials can benefit from the barrier properties, hydration and lubrication properties, unique chemical diversity, and bioactivities of mucins.

Owing to their multifunctionality, mucins have been used in a wide variety of applications, including as antifouling coatings, as selective filters, and artificial tears and saliva, as a basis for cosmetics, as drug delivery materials, and as natural detergents. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge regarding key mucin properties and survey how they have been put to use. We offer a vision for how mucins could be used in the near future and what challenges await the field before biomaterials made of mucins and mucin-mimics can be translated into commercial products.

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December 27th, 2016

New infographic on mucin repair

A new infographic featuring recent work is available in the outreach section.

December 1st, 2016

2nd workshop on protein materials – March 9-10, 2017

The 2nd Workshop on Protein Materials will be organised March 9-10, 2017 at KTH (Stockholm, Sweden)

October 31st, 2016

Opportunities with the KTH – CSC Programme

CSC-KTH programme offers scholarship opportunities for Chinese students and postdocs.

September 22nd, 2016

New PhD position – Here’s what you should know

We are recruiting a PhD student. So what is expected and what can you expect?

September 14th, 2016

Grant proposal – Methylcellulose as next generation microbial culture substrate

I am publishing a grant application submitted to the Swedish Research Council FORMAS in 2016.

August 10th, 2016

A call for better mucins

We need to push for better quality commercial mucins to advance the many scientific fields relying on mucins molecules.

July 24th, 2016

Join us at the ESOF 2016, the EuroScience Open Forum!

The EuroScience Open Forum is one of the most important general science conference of the world.

April 6th, 2016

We will be at the World Biomaterials Congress in Montreal – May 2016

Come meet us at the world’s largest biomaterials conference!

March 17th, 2016

Mucus, it’s snot what you think (video)!

The Materials Research Society Foundation generously funded us to create this fun video on the usefulness of mucus! We based […]

February 15th, 2016

Citizen Science to the rescue!

The concept of Citizen Science has attracted a lot of attention over the past few years. But most of us scientists […]