Course detail

Polymers for medical applications

FCH-MCO_PMAAcad. year: 2019/2020

Polymers are an important part of the biomaterial used in medicine, especially as parts of medical devices, biosensors, implants, drug or cell carriers. The subject summarizes the current knowledge about the synthesis of biomedical polymers, including their modification, copolymerization, functionalization, Self-organizing processes and characterization. Emphasis is placed on the properties of hydrogels and biodegradable polymers usable in medicine, with a view to testing their biocompatibility, stability and bioactivity in living organisms. Part of it is devoted to methods of preparing scaffolds for tissue engineering and biomaterials for bone, replacement overview, tendons, cartilage, skin, nervous and cardiovascular systems. The subject deals also in a composite polymer material containing (nano) fibers or (nano) particles, their properties and applications in medicine.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

Students will be able to choose a suitable polymeric materials, or any combination thereof, for defined medical applications, design methods of synthesis and preparation of (bio) polymer characterization and testing, including methods of in vitro and in vivo for the intended application.


Macromolecular chemistry, Structure and properties of macromolecules, Polymeric materials


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Rieger B, Künkel, Coates GW, Reichardt R, Dinjus E, Zevaco TA, volume editors. Synthetic biodegradable polymers. In: Advances in Polymer Science. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 2012; vol. 245, pp. 364. ISSN: 0065-3195 (CS)
Guelcher SA, Hollinger JO, editors. An Introduction to Biomaterials. In: The biomedical engineering series, Neuman MR, series editor. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Boca Raton, Florida, USA. 2006, pp. 553. ISBN: 0-8493-2282-0. (CS)
Ratner BD, Hoffman AS, Schoen FJ, Lemons JE, editors. Biomaterials Science. An Introduction to Materials in Medicine. 2nd ed., Elsevier Academic press, California USA, London UK. 2004, pp. 851. ISBN: 0-12-582463-7. (CS)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course uses teaching methods in form of Lecture - 2 teaching hours per week. The e-learning system (LMS Moodle) is available to teachers and students.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Oral examination (70%), which is preceded by a written test to be satisfied at 60%.
Active participation in lessons including seminar work (30%).

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. Biomaterials - introduction, definitions, classification and properties of biomaterials applications in medicine.
2. Biodegradation of polymers, biocompatibility and toxicity - characterization and testing of materials in vitro and in vivo
3. Tissue engineering – principles, methodology, stem cells, interactions of biomaterials with cells, extracellular matrix, drug carriers.
4. Method of scaffold preparation for tissue engineering - lyophilization, 3D printing, electrospinning, solvent casting, foaming, sol-gel, stereolithography, laser sintering, rapid prototyping, etc.
5. General overview of polymeric materials and implants for tissue engineering of bone, nervous and cardiovascular system, skin, tendons, cartilage and menisci.
6. Hydrogels in medicine – rheology, crosslinking, mechanical properties, swelling, applications.
7. Biopolymers I – polysaccharides: cellulose, hyaluronic acid, chitosan, alginate, silk fibroin: properties, modification and applications
8. Biopolymers II - polynucleotide substances (RGD), proteins (collagen, fibrin), polyesters (PHB, PHV), isoprenoids: properties, modification and application
9. Synthetic polymers I (non-degradable) - polyacrylates, polyethylene, silicones, polyurethanes, polyethylene terephthalate: mechanical properties and testing for medical applications
10. Synthetic polymers II (biodegradable) – polyesters (PLA, PGA, PCL, PHB)-polycondenzation, ring opening polymerization, block copolymers, sol-gel transition, catalysts, biodegradation, the application
11. Synthetic polymers III (biodegradable)- polyhydroxyalkanoates, polyester carbonates, polyester amides, polyester urethanes, polypropylen fumarates, polyorthoesters, polyanhydrides, polyalkylcyanoacrylates, polyimino carbonates, inorganic polyphosphazenes and inorganic polyphosphoesters
12. Chemical modification of (bio)polymers– response from functional groups, functionalization of synthetic polymers, binding of biologically active agents, crosslinking
13. Composite polymeric materials and their use in medicine - (nano)fibers and (nano)particles filled polymers, a combination of natural and synthetic polymers, ceramics and metallic biomaterials, sterilization of biomaterials. New biomaterials prepared by self-assembly processes.


The course will provide students with basic knowledge of polymer materials usable for applications in medicine, their history and the present. Apart from commercially available materials, students will be especially familiar with (bio) polymer materials in the research stage, with their synthesis, sample preparation, characterization and testing in vitro and in vivo, focusing on individual medical applications, especially for tissue engineering.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

It is not, but the lectures are recommended.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme CKCP_CZV lifelong learning

    branch CKCO_CZV , 1. year of study, winter semester, 4 credits, compulsory

Type of course unit



26 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer