Self-assembly and Gelation Properties of Novel Peptides for Biomedical Applications

  • Jie Gao

Student thesis: Phd


The self-assembly peptide hydrogels used as tissue culture scaffolds have drawn great attention in recent years. They have the advantages of natural polymer hydrogels including biocompatibility, biodegradability and the advantages of synthetic materials such as controlled structural properties and mechanical properties. Furthermore, the bioactive ligands which can promote bioactivities and control cell behaviours can be easily introduced to the peptide backbone through peptide synthesis. One particular self-assembly FEFEFKFK peptide was chosen in this project.FEFEFKFK peptide used in this project has been reported to self-assemble in solution, forming hydrogels with a 3D fibrous network structure above a critical gelation concentration. In this project, the self-assembly and gelation properties of FEFEFKFK peptide were further investigated, assessing the effect of pH and ionic strength on the self-assembly and gelation behaviour. The biomimetic nanofibrous hydrogels of FEFEFKFK were also assessed for their ability to support human dermal fibroblast cells. The protocols of gel preparation were developed for both 2 dimensional (2D) and 3 dimensional (3D) cell culture. A short peptide sequence homoarginine-glycine-aspartate (hRGD) has been introduced onto the amide end of the self-assembly peptide instead of bioactive ligand arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD), creating hydrogels with a fibrous network with functionalised groups at the fibre surface. The functionalised peptide hydrogels enhanced cell adhesion on gel surface, with cell interaction assessed using various imaging and spectroscopic techniques. A preliminary 3D cell culture study also showed potential of these peptide gels to be used for encapsulated human dermal fibroblast cell studies.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAlberto Saiani (Supervisor) & Julie Gough (Supervisor)


  • peptide hydrogel
  • self-assembly

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