The Hoare Lab works at the interface of polymer science, physical chemistry, and biology, aiming to design novel materials with “smart” properties precisely tuned to the environment and application in which the material is to be used. Our main expertise lies in the rational design of “smart” hydrogel-based materials on different length scales (i.e. bulk hydrogels, microgels, and nanogels) based on a fundamental understanding of the structure-property relationships in such materials. To achieve this understanding, we apply both the analytical tools of physical chemistry and the mathematical modeling tools of chemical engineering to predict microstructures prior to synthesis and then characterize (and optimize) the realized microstructures for specific applications. While most of our target applications lie within biomedical engineering (drug delivery, cell encapsulation, biomedical devices, biosensors, and tissue engineering), we also apply our engineered hydrogels in food, nutriceutical delivery, agricultural, and environmental applications. Our injectable or printable poly(oligoethylene glycol methacrylate) (POEGMA) technology is an example of the types of materials we make, representing easy-to-deliver and use materials that can facilely tune the bulk and interfacial properties for biosensor and biomaterial applications. Specifically, our poly(OEGMA) hydrazide and aldehyde polymers can create highly protein-repellent interfaces and hydrophilic bulk phases while our 90:10 poly(M(EO)2MA:Poly(OEGMA) hydrazide and aldehyde polymers can create thermally switchable materials that can reversibly change pore size or cell affinity with temperature.
Hoare Group Website