College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Shape-changing implants, bioprinted tissue and next-gen adhesives

Alina Kirillova, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, runs the Active Polymer Materials Lab with the goal of using polymer-based materials for biomedical applications. She is a member of the faculty team for the brand-new biomedical engineering major now offered at Iowa State.

She has three directions her lab pursues, one of which is shape-changing biodegradable materials for biomedical implants.

“These materials could be used to restore damaged tissues or organs, fix or treat bone fractures and support minimally invasive surgeries,” Kirillova said. “There are limited options for functional, shape-changing biodegradable soft materials, so I would like to build these new polymers with my background in chemistry.”

Another focus is bioprinting for tissue engineering applications. Kirillova said the ultimate goal is to develop new hydrogels to make them mechanically robust enough to bio-print complex tissues and, eventually, organs. Her final focus is advanced adhesives for biomedical applications. One of the directions is developing a “bone glue,” which could help facilitate bone healing and, with it being bioresorbable, wouldn’t stay in a patient’s body indefinitely.