Living biomaterials are an innovative type of device with wide-ranging implications. Combining the flexibility of living cells with biocompatiblematerials, this new class of devices is expected to impact many fields and assist society in dealing with the challenges ahead. Bacterial are a particularly attractive platform since they can be genetically "tailored" to produce many different types of proteins in response to almost any known type of chemical, physical or biological change.
Unfortunately, this potential is held back by challenges like maintaining the viability, functionality and safety of the living components in freestanding materials and devices. One of the biggest challenges in applying this emerging technology to real-world problems preventing bacterial leakage while allowing for adequate diffusion of nutrients and products. In our project, we aimed to bring the application of living materials a step closer to being realized. In the past several months we have worked on our design of a novel platform. Using an adhesive protein originating from arctic bacteria, we successfully reduced bacterial leakage by inducing genetically engineered E. coli to bind to a dextran hydrogel with macroporous character. We used the modularity of our platform in a wound healing application, integrating in our design insights from our models and feedback from stakeholders. We believe we have successfully completed all medal requirements and have managed to demonstate our project in a prototype.