Research Summary:
Professor Becker's Laboratory for Functional Biomaterials seeks to develop new materials and methods which stimulate and direct specific cellular functions.  The multidisciplinary group works at the interface of chemistry, organic materials and medicine and focuses on developing chemical methods to tether peptides, proteins and growth factors to translationally-relevant materials. These materials include peptide and carbohydrate derivatized materials, which incorporate bio-functional species in a controlled manner, with the goal of influencing cell response.

We focus in these key areas which motivate our work:

1) Developing chemical methods to control the placement of functional groups

Recent Publications:

W Tang, ML Becker* “Click” Reactions: a Versatile Toolbox for the Synthesis of Peptide Conjugates. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2014 43(20), 7013-7039. 

W Tang, Y Ma, S Xie, K Guo, B Katzenmeyer, C Wesdemiotis, ML Becker* “Valency Dependent Affinity of Hydroxyapatite-binding Dendrimers”, Biomacromolecules, 2013, 14, 3304-3313.


LA Smith Callahan, S Xie, I Barker, J Zheng, DH Reneker, AP Dove, ML Becker “Accelerated Differentiation and Neurite Extension of mESC on Aligned Poly(lactide) Nanofibers Functionalized with YIGSR” Biomaterials, 2013, 34, 9089-9095

F Lin, J Yu, W Tang J Zheng, S Xie, ML Becker* “Post-electrospinning Modification of Amino acid-based Poly(ester urea) Nanofibers for Tissue Engineering” Macromolecules 2013, 46(24), 9515-9525. 

J Zheng, S Xie, F Lin, G Hua, T Yu, DH Reneker, M L Becker “Dibenzocyclooctyne as an Initiator for Poly(e-caprolactone): Copper-Free Clickable Polymer and Nanofiber Based Scaffolds” Polymer Chemistry20134(7), 2215-2218. – featured on journal cover.  

J Zheng, K Liu, DH Reneker, ML Becker “Post-Assembly Derivatization of Electrospun Nanofibers via Strain-Promoted Azide Alkyne Cycloaddition” J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134(41), 17274-17277. 


Recent Publications:

F Lin, J Yu, W Tang, J Zheng, A Defante, K Guo, C Wesdemiotis, ML Becker* “Peptide Functionalized Oxime Hydrogels with Tunable Mechanical Properties and Gelation Behavior” Biomacromolecules 2013, 34, 9089-9095. 

J Zheng, LA Smith Callahan, J Hao, K Guo, C Wesdemiotis, RA Weiss, ML Becker* “Strain-Promoted Crosslinking of PEG-based Hydrogels via Copper-Free Cycloaddition” ACS Macro Letters, 2012, 1(8), 1071-1073. 


Recent Publications:

Y Ma, J Zheng, EF Amond, CM Stafford, ML Becker* “Facile Fabrication of “Dual Click” One- and Two-Dimensional Orthogonal Peptide Concentration Gradients” Biomacromolecules, 2013, 14, 665-671. 

LA Smith-Callahan&, Y Ma&, CM Stafford, ML Becker* “Concentration Dependent Neural Differentiation and Neurite Extension from mouse ESC on Primary Amine-derivatized Surfaces” Biomaterials Science, 2013, 1, 537-541. 


Recent Publications:

X Liu, J Zhou, J Zheng, ML Becker* X Gong*, “Water-soluble CdTe quantum dots as an anode interlayer for solution-processed near infrared polymer photodetectors” Nanoscale 2013, 5(24), 12474-12479. 

T Rao, X Dong, B Katzenmeyer, C Wesdemiotis, SDZ Cheng, ML Becker* “High Fidelity Fabrication of Au-Polymer Janus Nanoparticles using a Solution Template Approach” Soft Matter, 2012, 8(10), 2965-2971. 

2) Exploring the synergy of bioactive species & mechanical properties on cell function

Recent Publications:

LA Smith-Callahan, G Policastro, SL Bernard, EP Childers, R Boechtter, ML Becker* “Influence of Discrete and Continuous Culture Conditions on Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Lineage Choice in RGD Concentration Gradient Hydrogels. Biomacromolecules201314, 3047-3054. 

3) Providing solutions to unmet medical needs

Recent Publications:

K Stakleff, F Lin, LA Smith Callahan, MB Wade, A Esterle, J Miller, M Graham, ML Becker* “Resorbable, Amino-acid-based Poly(ester urea)s Crosslinked with Osteogenic Growth Peptide with enhanced Mechanical Properties and Bioactivity, Acta Biomaterialia, 2013, 9, 5132-5142. 

LA Smith-Callahan, EP Childers, AM Ganios, R Boechtter, SD Weiner, ML Becker* “Concentration-dependent Chondrocyte Phenotype Fidelity in RGD gradient hydrogels. Acta Biomaterialia, 2013, in press

LA Smith-Callahan, AM Ganios, EP Childers, SD Weiner, ML Becker* “Primary Human Chondrocyte Extracellular Matrix Formation and Phenotype Maintenance using RGD-derivatized PEGDM Hydrogels Possessing a Continuous Gradient in Modulus” Acta Biomaterialia, 2013, 9, 6095-6104.

LA Smith, AM Ganios, D Burney, MD Dilisio, SD Weiner, WH Horton, ML Becker* “ECM Production of Primary Human and Bovine Chondrycytes in Hybrid PEG Hydrogels Containing Type I Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid” Biomacromolecules, 2012, 13(5), 1625-1631.