Clarke DE., McCullen SD., Chow AGY., Stevens MM.
The field of biomaterials is a multidisciplinary, exciting, and constantly evolving area of research. Materials have been used for thousands of years to aid the practice of medicine and help repair the human body to overcome both disease and injury. Currently, the use of materials in medicine is expansive, with a vast library of established metals, ceramics, and polymeric materials in clinical use. The materials serve applications from simple sutures and dental implants, to limb and ocular prostheses, to even highly complex engineered devices such as left ventricular assist devices. In the constantly evolving field of biomaterials, there has been a paradigm shift toward the development of functional materials by designing for desired cellular and mechanical response. In this article, we discuss currently used biomaterials, explore how materials can be designed and engineered to interact and respond to their mechanical and biological environments, and present the development of new design and fabrication techniques to mimic the mechanical response of complex tissues.