Welcome to GelCatraz: Where E. coli goes to stay!

Living biomaterials are an innovative type of device with wide-ranging implications. Combining the flexibility of living cells with bio-compatible materials, this new class of devices is expected to impact many fields and assist society in dealing with the challenges ahead. Bacteria 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 is 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. For long 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 have successfully completed all medal requirements , acquiring a Gold Medal and have managed to demonstate our project in a prototype. Additionally, BBa_K2812004 and BBa_K2812005 were nominated by the jury for Best New Basic Part and Best New Composite Part in the Overgrad competition.

Made with from TU/e