Polymers for Biomedical Applications

Polymers for Biomedical Applications

(30h, 3 punkty ECTS)

 (summer semester, Friday 12.00-14.00)


Visiting professor

Prof. dr hab. Yurij Stetsyshyn

Lviv Polytechnic National University

The course of lectures will provide an overview of the design and processing of polymers used in biomedical applications. Following the discussion of the physicochemical  properties of polymers, important classes of polymeric biomaterials will be presented. Then, polymeric materials synthesis and processing methods, as well as their performance in biomedical applications will be examined. Lecture topics will cover the design of polymeric biomaterials and their different types used in surgery and drug delivery, as well as in ophthalmologic and orthopedic applications. The physicochemical properties of key biomedical polymers will be examined and related to biomedical applications. The biomaterials’ response to various components of biological environment will be addressed, followed by the discussion of the biological host response to the presence of implanted polymers. Finally, the design of polymer processing equipment will be covered, as it applies to the manufacturing of biomedical devices: fundamentals of extrusion, coating, fiber spinning, film blowing, and injection molding will be introduced. The course fits well with other courses already taught at the Jagiellonian University, such as e.g. “Macromolecules”, “Surface physics and chemistry” or “Interactions of biomaterials with cells and tissues”.


Lectures on Polymers for Biomedical Applications

1. Introduction to polymer science: Brief history of plastics - their advantages and disadvantages - thermoplastics and thermosets. Manufacturing of monomers. Addition and condensation polymerization - structure - properties - processing and applications of some important industrial polymers. 


2. Structure and synthesis of polymers: Concepts of average molecular weight, monomers, functionality, degree of polymerization. Classification of polymers, tacticity, glass transition, melting transition. Criteria for rubberiness. Copolymerization, different types of the copolymers, techniques for copolymerization - bulk, solution, suspension, emulsion. 

3. Main classes of polymers and polymer systems: Natural and synthetic polymers, biodegradable polymers, polymeric hydrogels, micelles, grafted brush-coatings.  

4. Polymer characterization: Determination of molecular weights, (GPC, Viscosity) Thermal analysis techniques like DTA, DSC, TGA etc. Spectroscopic techniques like IR, UV, NMR etc. Application of these techniques to polymers. 

5. Polymer surfaces and their characterization: Chemistry and transformation of the surfaces. Wettability, morphology and elasticity.  

6. Solution and melt processing of polymers: Solubility of polymers, solubility parameters, good, bad and theta solvents: Melt processing of polymers, compression molding, injection molding, blow molding, extrusion, pultrusion, calendaring, rotational molding, thermoforming, rubber processing in two-roll mill, internal mixer. 

7. Thermal Properties of Polymers: Glass and melt transition, locating the glass transition in polymers, free volume theory, factors that affect glass transition temperature, polymer crystallization, kinetics of nucleation and growth, lamellar and spherulite morphology, polymorphism and crystalline phase transitions. Temperature-induced changes of polymer conformation. 

8. Viscoelastic behavior of Polymers: Basic concepts: stress, strain, modulus, viscosity and compliance, viscous and elastic responses, stress relaxation and creep, Maxwell and Voight Model, entanglement and rubbery plateau. 

9. Polymer testing and specifications: Mechanical-static and dynamic tensile, flexural, compressive, abrasion, endurance, fatigue, hardness, tear, resilience, impact, toughness. Conductivity-thermal and electrical, dielectric constant, dissipation factor, power factor, electric resistance, surface resistivity, volume resistivity, swelling, ageing resistance, environmental stress cracking resistance. 

10. “Smart” polymer systems for biomedical applications: Introduction to smart polymers. Stimuli in physiological environment. Principles for designing of responsive polymer systems.  Biomedical applications of responsive polymers. 

11. Biocompatible and biology-active polymer systems: Protein-surface interactions, protein adsorption: Langmuir model, complex phenomena, measurement. Cell-surface interactions: host response to biomaterials. Cell adhesion mechanisms. Coagulation cascade. 

12. Antimicrobial polymer systems: Introduction to antimicrobial polymeric materials. Principles for designing of antimicrobial polymeric systems.  Biomedical applications of antimicrobial polymers. Antimicrobial activity of chitosan. Polymer-based synthetic mimics of antimicrobial peptides. Synthesis, structure and antimicrobial activities of polymeric composite materials with metals.

13. Drug delivery polymer systems:  Introduction to controlled drug release. Mechanisms of action for controlled drug release. Examples of controlled-release delivery systems. Commonly used polymers for drug delivery systems. 

14. Testing of the polymeric biomaterials: Standard methods for testing biomaterials. Chemical properties. Imaging methods to measure porosity. Physical characterization – permeability. Surface properties. Degradation and stability in physiological fluids.  Implant-protein interface tests. Implant–tissue interface tests.  

15. Equipment to process polymeric biomaterial: manufacturing of biomedical devices and the fundamentals of extrusion, coating, fiber spinning, film blowing, and injection molding. 


1. F.W. Billmeyer, Text Book of Polymer Science, 3rd edition, John Wiley and sons, New York, 2002. 

2. Gorge Odeon – Principles of Polymerization, 4th edition, McGraw Hill Book Company, New York 2004. 

3. M.S. Bhatnagar, “A Text Book of Polymers (Chemistry and Technology of Polymers), Vol I, II & III, 1stEdn.,S.Chand and Company, New Delhi, 2007 

4. Premamoy Ghosh ,” Polymer Science and Technology, 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill Publishing 

5. R.J. Young, Introduction to Polymers, Chapman and Hall Ltd., London, 1999. 

6. Biomaterials Science – An Introduction to Materials in Medicine, 3 rd Edition, edited by Buddy Ratner et al., Academic Press 2013. ISBN 978-0-12-374626-9 

7. Denis J-P Labarre, Gilles Ponchel, Christine Vauthier, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Polymers, Pharmaceutical Press, 2011 

8. Dan Luo, W. Mark Saltzman, Synthetic DNA delivery systems, Nature Biotechnology 18, 33 - 37 (2000) doi:10.1038/71889 

9. Stetsyshyn, Y., Fornal, K., Raczkowska, J., Zemla, J., Kostruba, A., Ohar, H., ... & Budkowski, A. (2013). Temperature and pH dual-responsive POEGMA-based coatings for protein adsorption. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 411, 247-256. 

10. Stetsyshyn, Y., Raczkowska, J., Lishchynskyi, O., Bernasik, A., Kostruba, A., Harhay, K., ... & Budkowski, A. (2017). Temperature-controlled three-stage switching of wetting, morphology, and protein adsorption. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 9(13), 12035-12045

11. Kalay, S., Stetsyshyn, Y., Donchak, V., Harhay, K., Lishchynskyi, O., Ohar, H., ... & Çulha, M. (2019). pH-Controlled fluorescence switching in water-dispersed polymer brushes grafted to modified boron nitride nanotubes for cellular imaging. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, 10(1), 2428-2439.