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Institute of Bioengineering

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Prof Julien Gautrot

Professor in Biomaterials and Biointerfaces

Department School of Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests

Research Overview

Bio-interfaces, the interfaces between proteins, cells or tissues and inert materials, are fascinating systems that play key roles in biological and biomedical applications. Research in the Gautrot lab focuses on the design of novel biomaterials and methodologies that allow the study of bio-interfaces and their control for applications in cell-based assays, bio-sensors and regenerative medicine. Our work in the field of biomaterials design is inspired by Nature?s strategies to generate complexity and control function and properties. In particular, we are interested in novel synthetic tools and methodologies allowing the use of Nature's own building blocks, peptide sequences, to confer mechanical, chemical and biological properties to biomaterials. This approach, well suited for design, is appealing as it makes use of the inherent biological 'wiring' that has evolved to control cell and tissue homeostasis: peptide sequences and proteins are the key components that shape biological tissues. In addition, we develop new micro- and nano-patterning techniques to recreate the geometric and hierarchical complexity encountered in cells and tissues (e.g. positioning of organelles, generation of cell polarity and mimicking of tissue architecture and morphogenesis). Key questions that these tools will allow us to address are:

  • How do biological, mechanical and chemical properties of bio-materials (whether synthetic or of natural origin) cross-talk to control cell behaviour and in particular stem cell fate decision?
  • How do cells remodel such materials and how does this impact on cell behaviour and tissue formation?
  • Finally, what is the minimum set of rules or properties required to achieve a desired cell or tissue function?


Di Cio S, Iskratsch T, Connelly JT and Gautrot JE (2019). Contractile myosin rings and cofilin-mediated actin disassembly orchestrate ECM nanotopography sensing. Elsevier  Biomaterials  vol. 232, 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119683

Cozens EJ, Kong D, Roohpour N and Gautrot JE (2019). The physico-chemistry of adhesions of protein resistant and weak polyelectrolyte brushes to cells and tissues. Royal Society of Chemistry  Soft Matter  vol. 16, (2) 505-522. 10.1039/c9sm01403a

Li D, Wu L, Qu F, Ribadeneyra MC, Tu G and Gautrot J (2019). Core-independent approach for polymer brush-functionalised nanomaterials with a fluorescent tag for RNA delivery. Royal Society of Chemistry  Chemical Communications  vol. 55, (94) 14166-14169. 10.1039/c9cc05790k

Ahmad N, Colak B, Gibbs MJ, Zhang D-W, Gautrot JE, Watkinson M, Becer CR and Krause S (2019). Peptide Cross-Linked Poly(2-oxazoline) as a Sensor Material for the Detection of Proteases with a Quartz Crystal Microbalance. Biomacromolecules  vol. 20, (7) 2506-2514. 10.1021/acs.biomac.9b00245

Crespo M, Santagiuliana G, Picot O, Portale G, Bilotti E and Gautrot JE (2019). A Photoaddressable Liquid Crystalline Phase Transition in Graphene Oxide Nanocomposites. Advanced Functional Materials  vol. 29, (24) 10.1002/adfm.201900738

Qu F, Li D, Ma X, Chen F and Gautrot JE (2019). A Kinetic Model of Oligonucleotide-Brush Interactions for the Rational Design of Gene Delivery Vectors. Biomacromolecules  vol. 20, (6) 2218-2229. 10.1021/acs.biomac.9b00155

Ahmad N, Colak B, Zhang DW, Gibbs MJ, Watkinson M, Remzi Becer C, Gautrot JE and Krause S (2019). Peptide cross-linked poly (Ethylene glycol) hydrogel films as biosensor coatings for the detection of collagenase. Sensors (Switzerland)  vol. 19, (7) 10.3390/s19071677

GAUTROT JEE (2019). Conformational Dynamics and Responsiveness of Weak and Strong Polyelectrolyte Brushes: Atomistic Simulations of PDMAEMA and PMETAC. American Chemical Society  Langmuir  10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b04268

GAUTROT JEE (2019). Modes of adsorption of polyelectrolytes to model substrates of hydroxyapatite. Elsevier  Journal of Colloid and Interface Science  vol. 543, 237-237. 10.1016/j.jcis.2019.02.063


Zhang F, An Y, Roohpour N, Barber AH and Gautrot JE (2018). Hydration dependent mechanical performance of denture adhesive hydrogels. Dent Mater  vol. 34, (10) 1440-1448. 10.1016/

Kong D, Peng L, Di Cio S, Novak P and Gautrot JE (2018). Stem Cell Expansion and Fate Decision on Liquid Substrates Are Regulated by Self-Assembled Nanosheets. Acs Nano  vol. 12, (9) 9206-9213. 10.1021/acsnano.8b03865

Tang P, di Cio S, Wang W and E Gautrot J (2018). Surface-Initiated Poly(oligo(2-alkyl-2-oxazoline)methacrylate) Brushes. Langmuir  vol. 34, (34) 10019-10027. 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b01682

Pandey P, Hawkes W, Hu J, Megone WV, Gautrot J, Anilkumar N, Zhang M, Hirvonen L, Cox S, Ehler E, Hone J, Sheetz M and Iskratsch T (2018). Erratum: Cardiomyocytes Sense Matrix Rigidity through a Combination of Muscle and Non-muscle Myosin Contractions (Developmental cell (2018) 44 3 (326-336.e3) PII: S1534-5807(18)30409-X). Developmental Cell  vol. 45, (5) 10.1016/j.devcel.2018.05.016

Megone W, Roohpour N and Gautrot JE (2018). Impact of surface adhesion and sample heterogeneity on the multiscale mechanical characterisation of soft biomaterials. Sci Rep  vol. 8, (1) 6780-6780. 10.1038/s41598-018-24671-x

Kong D, Megone W, Nguyen KDQ, Di Cio S, Ramstedt M and Gautrot JE (2018). Protein Nanosheet Mechanics Controls Cell Adhesion and Expansion on Low-Viscosity Liquids. Nano Lett  10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b05339

Pandey P, Hawkes W, Hu J, Megone WV, Gautrot J, Anilkumar N, Zhang M, Hirvonen L, Cox S, Ehler E, Hone J, Sheetz M and Iskratsch T (2018). Cardiomyocytes Sense Matrix Rigidity through a Combination of Muscle and Non-muscle Myosin Contractions. Dev Cell  vol. 44, (3) 326-336.e3. 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.12.024

Li D, Sharili AS, Connelly J and Gautrot JE (2018). Highly Stable RNA Capture by Dense Cationic Polymer Brushes for the Design of Cytocompatible, Serum-Stable SiRNA Delivery Vectors. Biomacromolecules  10.1021/acs.biomac.7b01686

Colak B, Di Cio S and Gautrot JE (2018). Biofunctionalised Patterned Polymer Brushes via Thiol-Ene Coupling for the Control of Cell Adhesion and the Formation of Cell Arrays. Biomacromolecules  10.1021/acs.biomac.7b01436

Zhang X, Geven MA, Wang X, Qin L, Grijpma DW, Peijs T, Eglin D, Guillaume O and Gautrot JE (2018). A drug eluting poly(Trimethylene carbonate)/ poly(lactic acid)-reinforced nanocomposite for the functional delivery of osteogenic molecules. International Journal of Nanomedicine  vol. 13, 5701-5718. 10.2147/IJN.S163219


Li D and Gautrot JE (2017). Design of Polymer Brushes for Cell Culture and Cellular Delivery. Polymer and Biopolymer Brushes: For Materials Science and Biotechnology  10.1002/9781119455042.ch20

Darshan GH, Kong D, Gautrot J and Vootla S (2017). Physico-chemical characterization of Antheraea mylitta silk mats for wound healing applications. Scientific Reports  vol. 7, (1) 10.1038/s41598-017-10531-7

Krishnamoorthy M, Li D, Sharili AS, Gulin-Sarfraz T, Rosenholm JM and Gautrot JE (2017). The Solution Conformation of Polymer Brushes Determines their Interactions with DNA and Transfection Efficiency. Biomacromolecules  10.1021/acs.biomac.7b01175

Zhang X, Geven MA, Grijpma D, Peijs T and Gautrot JE (2017). Tunable and processable shape memory composites based on degradable polymers. Polymer  10.1016/j.polymer.2017.06.066

Kong D, Nguyen KDQ, Megone W, Peng L and Gautrot JE (2017). The culture of HaCaT cells on liquid substrates is mediated by a mechanically strong liquid?liquid interface. Faraday Discuss.  vol. 204, 367-381. 10.1039/C7FD00091J

Di Cio S, Bøggild TML, Connelly J, Sutherland DS and Gautrot JE (2017). Differential integrin expression regulates cell sensing of the matrix nanoscale geometry. Acta Biomaterialia  vol. 50, 280-292. 10.1016/j.actbio.2016.11.069

Gh D, Kong D, Gautrot J and Vootla SK (2017). Fabrication and Characterization of Conductive Conjugated Polymer-Coated Antheraea mylitta Silk Fibroin Fibers for Biomedical Applications. Macromol Biosci  vol. 17, (7) 10.1002/mabi.201600443


Attwood SJ, Cortes E, Haining AW, Robinson B, Li D, Gautrot J and Del Río Hernández A (2016). Adhesive ligand tether length affects the size and length of focal adhesions and influences cell spreading and attachment. Sci Rep  vol. 6, 34334-34334. 10.1038/srep34334

Colak B, Da Silva JCS, Soares TA and Gautrot JE (2016). Impact of the Molecular Environment on Thiol-Ene Coupling For Biofunctionalization and Conjugation. American Chemical Society  Bioconjugate Chemistry  vol. 27, (9) 2111-2123. 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.6b00349

Nguyen KDQ, Megone WV, Kong D and Gautrot JE (2016). Ultrafast diffusion-controlled thiol-ene based crosslinking of silicone elastomers with tailored mechanical properties for biomedical applications. Polymer Chemistry  vol. 7, (33) 5281-5293. 10.1039/c6py01134a

Zhang X, Geven MA, Grijpma DW, Gautrot JE and Peijs T (2016). ?Polymer-polymer composites for the design of strong and tough degradable biomaterials? Materials Today Communications  vol. 8, 53-63. 10.1016/j.mtcomm.2016.05.001

An Y, Li D, Roohpour N, Gautrot JE and Barber AH (2016). Failure mechanisms in denture adhesives. Elsevier  Dental Materials  vol. 32, (5) 615-623. 10.1016/

Tan KY, Ramstedt M, Colak B, Huck WTS and Gautrot JE (2016). Study of thiol-ene chemistry on polymer brushes and application to surface patterning and protein adsorption. Polymer Chemistry  vol. 7, (4) 979-990. 10.1039/c5py01687h

Di Cio S and Gautrot JE (2016). Cell sensing of physical properties at the nanoscale: Mechanisms and control of cell adhesion and phenotype. Acta Biomaterialia  vol. 30, 26-48. 10.1016/j.actbio.2015.11.027


Di Cio S and Gautrot JE (2015). Cell sensing of physical properties at the nanoscale: Mechanisms and control of cell adhesion and phenotype. Acta Biomaterialia  10.1016/j.actbio.2015.11.027

Wang J, Zhou Y, Watkinson M, Gautrot J and Krause S (2015). High-sensitivity light-addressable potentiometric sensors using silicon on sapphire functionalized with self-assembled organic monolayers. Elsevier  Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical  vol. 209, 230-236. 10.1016/j.snb.2014.11.071

Eglin D, Alini M, de Bruijn J, Gautrot J, Grijpma DW, Kamer L, Lai Y, Lu S, Peijs T, Peng J, Tang TT, Wang X, Wang X, Richards RG and Qin L (2015). The RAPIDOS project-European and Chinese collaborative research on biomaterials. J Orthop Translat  vol. 3, (2) 78-84. 10.1016/

Hackett AJ, Malmström J, Molino PJ, Gautrot JE, Zhang H, Higgins MJ, Wallace GG, Williams DE and Travas-Sejdic J (2015). Conductive surfaces with dynamic switching in response to temperature and salt. Journal of Materials Chemistry B  vol. 3, (48) 9285-9294. 10.1039/c5tb02125a


Krishnamoorthy M, Hakobyan S, Ramstedt M and GAUTROT JEE (2014). Surface initiated polymer brushes in the biomedical field: Applications in membrane science, biosensing, cell culture, regenerative medicine and antibacterial coatings. American Chemical Society  Chemical Reviews  vol. 114, (21) 10976-11026. 10.1021/cr500252u

Deo DI, Gautrot JE, Sukhorukov GB and Wang W (2014). Biofunctionalization of PEGylated microcapsules for exclusive binding to protein substrates. Biomacromolecules  vol. 15, (7) 2555-2562. 10.1021/bm500412d

Gautrot JE, Malmström J, Sundh M, Margadant C, Sonnenberg A and Sutherland DS (2014). The nanoscale geometrical maturation of focal adhesions controls stem cell differentiation and mechanotransduction. Nano Letters  vol. 14, (7) 3945-3952. 10.1021/nl501248y

Costa P, Gautrot JE and Connelly JT (2014). Directing cell migration using micropatterned and dynamically adhesive polymer brushes. Acta Biomater  vol. 10, (6) 2415-2422. 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.01.029


Tan KY, Lin H, Ramstedt M, Watt FM, Huck WTS and Gautrot JE (2013). Decoupling geometrical and chemical cues directing epidermal stem cell fate on polymer brush-based cell micro-patterns. Integr Biol (Camb)  vol. 5, (6) 899-910. 10.1039/c3ib40026c

GAUTROT JEE, Rzhepishevska O, Hakobyan S, Ruhal R, Barbero D and Ramstedt M (2013). The surface charge of anti-bacterial coatings alters motility and biofilm architecture. Journal of Biomaterials Science: Polymer Edition  vol. 1, (6) 589-602. 10.1039/C3BM00197K


Gautrot JE, Wang C, Liu X, Goldie SJ, Trappmann B, Huck WTS and Watt FM (2012). Mimicking normal tissue architecture and perturbation in cancer with engineered micro-epidermis. Biomaterials  vol. 33, (21) 5221-5229. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.04.009

Trappmann B, Gautrot JE, Connelly JT, Strange DGT, Li Y, Oyen ML, Cohen Stuart MA, Boehm H, Li B, Vogel V, Spatz JP, Watt FM and Huck WTS (2012). Extracellular-matrix tethering regulates stem-cell fate. Nature Materials  10.1038/nmat3339


Rodriguez-Emmenegger C, Brynda E, Riedel T, Houska M, Šubr V, Alles AB, Hasan E, Gautrot JE and Huck WTS (2011). Polymer brushes showing non-fouling in blood plasma challenge the currently accepted design of protein resistant surfaces. Macromol Rapid Commun  vol. 32, (13) 952-957. 10.1002/marc.201100189

Tan KY, Gautrot JE and Huck WTS (2011). Formation of pickering emulsions using ion-specific responsive colloids. Langmuir  vol. 27, (4) 1251-1259. 10.1021/la102904r

Connelly JT, Mishra A, Gautrot JE and Watt FM (2011). Shape-induced terminal differentiation of human epidermal stem cells requires p38 and is regulated by histone acetylation. Plos One  vol. 6, (11) 10.1371/journal.pone.0027259

Tan KY, Gautrot JE and Huck WTS (2011). Island brushes to control adhesion of water in oil droplets on planar surfaces. Soft Matter  vol. 7, (15) 7013-7020. 10.1039/c0sm01501f

Strandman S, Gautrot JE and Zhu XX (2011). Recent advances in entropy-driven ring-opening polymerizations. Polymer Chemistry  vol. 2, (4) 791-799. 10.1039/c0py00328j


Connelly JT, Gautrot JE, Trappmann B, Tan DWM, Donati G, Huck WTS and Watt FM (2010). Actin and serum response factor transduce physical cues from the microenvironment to regulate epidermal stem cell fate decisions. Nature Cell Biology  vol. 12, (7) 711-718. 10.1038/ncb2074

Gautrot JE, Trappmann B, Oceguera-Yanez F, Connelly J, He X, Watt FM and Huck WTS (2010). Exploiting the superior protein resistance of polymer brushes to control single cell adhesion and polarisation at the micron scale. Biomaterials  vol. 31, (18) 5030-5041. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.02.066

Therien-Aubin H, Gautrot JE, Shao Y, Zhang J and Zhu XX (2010). Shape memory properties of main chain bile acids polymers. Polymer  vol. 51, (1) 22-25. 10.1016/j.polymer.2009.11.027

Gautrot JE, Huck WTS, Welch M and Ramstedt M (2010). Protein-resistant NTA-functionalized polymer brushes for selective and stable immobilization of histidine-tagged proteins. Acs Appl Mater Interfaces  vol. 2, (1) 193-202. 10.1021/am9006484


Gautrot JE and Zhu XX (2009). Shape memory polymers based on naturally-occurring bile acids. Macromolecules  vol. 42, (19) 7324-7331. 10.1021/ma901090r

Trmcic-Cvitas J, Hasan E, Ramstedt M, Li X, Cooper MA, Abell C, Huck WTS and Gautrot JE (2009). Biofunctionalized protein resistant oligo(ethylene glycol)-derived polymer brushes as selective immobilization and sensing platforms. Biomacromolecules  vol. 10, (10) 2885-2894. 10.1021/bm900706r

Huck WTS, Gautrot J and Watt F (2009). The effects of surface chemistry on epidermal stem cell differentiation. Abstracts of Papers of The American Chemical Society  vol. 237,

Gautrot JE, Zhang J, Shao Y and Zhu XX (2009). New degradable polymers made from natural compounds bile acids by ROMP. Abstracts of Papers of The American Chemical Society  vol. 237,

Hodge P and Gautrot JE (2009). Polymers containing in-chain quinone moieties: synthesis and properties. Polymer International  vol. 58, (3) 261-266. 10.1002/pi.2528

Gautrot JE and Zhu XX (2009). Macrocyclic bile acids: from molecular recognition to degradable biomaterial building blocks. Journal of Materials Chemistry  vol. 19, (32) 5705-5716. 10.1039/b821340b

Gautrot JE, Hodge P, Helliwell M, Raftery J and Cupertino D (2009). Synthesis of electron-accepting polymers containing phenanthra-9,10-quinone units. Journal of Materials Chemistry  vol. 19, (24) 4148-4156. 10.1039/b901853k


Gautrot JE and Zhu XX (2008). High molecular weight bile acid and ricinoleic acid-based copolyesters via entropy-driven ring-opening metathesis polymerisation. Chem Commun (Camb)  (14) 1674-1676. 10.1039/b719021b


Gautrot JE and Hodge P (2007). Poly(dibenzo[a,c]phenazine-2,7-diyl)s - Synthesis and characterisation of a new family of electron-accepting conjugated polymers. Polymer  vol. 48, (24) 7065-7077. 10.1016/j.polymer.2007.09.045

Nguyen BT, Gautrot JE, Nguyen MT and Zhu XX (2007). Silver nanoparticles stabilized by nitrocellulose as low conversion temperature precursors for inkjet-printed electronic circuits. 2007 Nsti Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nsti Nanotech 2007, Technical Proceedings  vol. 2, 68-71.

Charbonneau C, Gautrot JE, Hébert M-J, Zhu XX and Lerouge S (2007). Chondroitin-4-sulfate: a bioactive macromolecule to foster vascular healing around stent-grafts after endovascular aneurysm repair. Macromol Biosci  vol. 7, (5) 746-752. 10.1002/mabi.200700008

Chen Y, Gautrot JE and Zhu XX (2007). Synthesis and characterization of core-shell microspheres with double thermosensitivity. Langmuir  vol. 23, (3) 1047-1051. 10.1021/la0624945

Chen Y, Gautrot JE and Zhu XX (2007). Synthesis and characterization of core-shell microspheres with double thermosensitivity. Langmuir  vol. 23, (3) 1047-1051. 10.1021/la0624945

Gautrot JE and Zhu XX (2007). Molar mass of main-chain bile acid-based oligo-esters measured by SEC, MALDI-TOF spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy: a comparative study. Anal Chim Acta  vol. 581, (2) 281-286. 10.1016/j.aca.2006.08.020

Gautrot JE, Hodge P, Cupertino D and Helliwell M (2007). 2,6-Diaryl-9,10-anthraquinones as models for electron-accepting polymers. New Journal of Chemistry  vol. 31, (9) 1585-1593. 10.1039/b701257h

Chen Y, Gautrot JE, Li Z and Zhu XX (2007). Preparation and thermo-responsive light diffraction behaviors of soft polymerized crystalline colloidal arrays. Soft Matter  vol. 3, (5) 571-579. 10.1039/b611445h

Nguyen BT, Gautrot JE, Nguyen MT and Zhu XX (2007). Nitrocellulose-stabilized silver nanoparticles as low conversion temperature precursors useful for inkjet printed electronics. Journal of Materials Chemistry  vol. 17, (17) 1725-1730. 10.1039/b616446c


Gautrot JE, Hodge P, Cupertino D and Helliwell M (2006). Experimental evidence for carbonyl-pi electron cloud interactions. New Journal of Chemistry  vol. 30, (12) 1801-1807. 10.1039/b608628d

Gautrot JE and Zhu XX (2006). Main-chain bile acid based degradable elastomers synthesized by entropy-driven ring-opening metathesis polymerization. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl  vol. 45, (41) 6872-6874. 10.1002/anie.200602096

Nguyen BT, Gautrot JE, Ji C, Brunner P-L, Nguyen MT and Zhu XX (2006). Enhancing the photoluminescence intensity of conjugated polycationic polymers by using quantum dots as antiaggregation reagents. Langmuir  vol. 22, (10) 4799-4803. 10.1021/la053399j

Gautrot JE and Zhu XX (2006). Biodegradable polymers based on bile acids and potential biomedical applications. Journal of Biomaterials Science-Polymer Edition  vol. 17, (10) 1123-1139. 10.1163/156856206778530713


Schroeder R, Majewski LA, Grell M, Maunoury J, Gautrot J, Hodge P and Turner M (2005). Electrode specific electropolymerization of ethylenedioxythiophene: Injection enhancement in organic transistors. Applied Physics Letters  vol. 87, (11) 10.1063/1.2035879

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