Preparation, characterization and application of a protein hydrogel with rapid self-healing and unique autofluoresent multi-functionalities

Jun Chen, Qiuchen Dong, Yikun Huang, Xiaoyu Ma, Tai Hsi Fan, Zichao Bian, André O'Reilly Beringhs, Xiuling Lu, Yu Lei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


A smart hydrogel with dual self-healing and autofluoresent functionalities is presented. The protein hydrogel is fabricated by denaturing bovine serum albumin in a basic environment. Upon gelation, autofluorescence is induced and the protein hydrogel can be excited by a wide range of spectrum, ranging from 320 to 520 nm. It was also found that the as-prepared autofluorescent protein hydrogel possessed rapid and repetitive self-healing capability. Without any external stimulus, more than 90% recovery of the mechanical strength can be obtained within 10 min after destruction. Moreover, the as-prepared hydrogel exhibits excellent biocompatibility and cell attachment property after its pH adjustment to neutral pH, while both autofluorescence and self-healing properties were still retained. This study suggests a promising means to prepare multi-functional protein hydrogel with dual physicochemical functionalities, which holds great potential in biomedical related applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • albumin
  • autofluorescence
  • biocompatibility
  • bovine serum
  • cell attachment
  • protein hydrogel
  • self-healing

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