Graduate Student, Laboratory of Samuel Stupp
Biodegradable polymers are important tools for engineering materials that act like human tissue. In this image, microspheres of polylactic acid (orange) are randomly dispersed on the surface of a salt crystal (blue). The polylactic acid expands, and when the salt is washed away, a polymer matrix with vacant pores remains. These porous structures can be molded to create artificial tissues. In McClendon’s group, this material is used to construct artificial blood vessels. In the near future, artificial arteries made from this material could be used in bypass heart surgeries.