Lessons from nature: Stimuli-responsive polymers and their biomedical applications

Byeongmoon Jeong, Anna Gutowska

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

767 Scopus citations


Response to stimulus is a basic process of living systems. Based on the lessons from nature, scientists have been designing useful materials that respond to external stimuli such as temperature, pH, light, electric field, chemicals and ionic strength. These responses are manifested as dramatic changes in one of the following: shape, surface characteristics, solubility, formation of an intricate molecular self-assembly or a sol-to-gel transition. Applications of stimuli-responsive, or 'smart', polymers in delivery of therapeutics, tissue engineering, bioseparations, sensors or actuators have been studied extensively and numerous papers and patents are evidence of rapid progress in this area. Understanding the structure-property relationship is essential for the further development and rational design of new functional smart materials. For example, kinetic and thermodynamic control of the coil-to-globule transition could be achieved through changes in polymer composition and topology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-311
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2002


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