Supramolecular biomaterials

Nat Mater. 2016 Jan;15(1):13-26. doi: 10.1038/nmat4474.


Polymers, ceramics and metals have historically dominated the application of materials in medicine. Yet rationally designed materials that exploit specific, directional, tunable and reversible non-covalent interactions offer unprecedented advantages: they enable modular and generalizable platforms with tunable mechanical, chemical and biological properties. Indeed, the reversible nature of supramolecular interactions gives rise to biomaterials that can sense and respond to physiological cues, or that mimic the structural and functional aspects of biological signalling. In this Review, we discuss the properties of several supramolecular biomaterials, as well as their applications in drug delivery, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and immunology. We envision that supramolecular biomaterials will contribute to the development of new therapies that combine highly functional materials with unmatched patient- and application-specific tailoring of both material and biological properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergy and Immunology
  • Animals
  • Biomimetic Materials / chemistry*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Tissue Engineering


  • Macromolecular Substances