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Our focus is on biopolymer engineering to understand
structure-function relationships, with emphasis on studies related
to self-assembly, biomaterials engineering and regenerative
medicine. Kaplan lab has extensively studied silk-based biomaterials
in regenerative medicine, starting from fundamental studies of the
biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysical features of this
novel class of fibrous proteins. These studies have led to inquiries
into the impact of silk biomaterials on stem cell functions and
complex tissue formation. The result has been the emergence of silk
as a new option in the degradable polymer field with
biocompatibility, new fundamental understanding of control of water
to regulate structure and properties, and new tissue-specific
outcomes with silk as scaffolding in gel, fiber, film or sponge
formats. Additional technological directions in optics, electronics,
adhesives and many related areas have emerged from these studies.
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