You are here: Home / GW Innovations / Technologies Available

3D Shape Memory Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

Technology #016-005-zhang

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Image Gallery
Flow diagram of shape memory 3D scaffold filling bone defect.
Shida Miao
Wei Zhu
Nathan Castro
Lijie Grace Zhang
External Link (
Managed By
Brian Coblitz
Sr. Licensing Associate (202) 994-4345
Patent Protection

Biocompatible Smart Biomaterials with Tunable Shape Changing and Enhanced Cytocompatiblity Properties

PCT Patent Application PCT/US2016/048647
4D printing smart biomedical scaffolds with novel soybean oil epoxidized acrylate
Scientific Reports, June 2, 2016

Over 120,000 patients are currently waiting for lifesaving organ and tissue transplants. Tissue engineering has the potential to innovate transplant and minimally invasive surgery by creating tissue substitutes from biopolymers with human stem cells. 

GW researchers developed a plant oil infused biopolymer with unique characteristics that are highly compatible to human tissue engineering. The co-polymerization of polycaprolactone (PCL) triol and castor oil yields a translucent biopolymer that exhibits tri-shape memory effects. Importantly, the synthetic biomaterials can be implanted in a compressed state and can subsequently recover their original shape at human body temperature.

Compared to existing PCL scaffolds, the novel biomaterials demonstrated greater adhesion and proliferation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Currently, PCL biomaterials on the market are opaque-white and can only recover their original shape above human body temperature. The translucency and temperature properties of the plant oil-based biopolymer allow for superior applications in minimally invasive surgery. 


  • Fill defects in a variety of tissues including bone, cartilage, and more with custom-fit scaffold
  • Fill large tissue defects that require vascularization
  • Use with minimally invasive surgery


  • Recovers original shape at human body temperature
  • Transparent biomaterial enables easier analysis for prototype evaluation
  • Enhanced adhesion and proliferation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells
  • Compatible with multiple human cell lines, including coronary artery smooth muscle cells and umbilical vein endothelial cells
  • Utilizes economical and renewable plant oil