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Post-doc Project: Biocompatible multi membrane hydrogels based on cationic nanocellulose and anionic alginates as pulse-like drug delivery systems

Starting: September 2014

The development of novel biomedical materials for practical and clinical applications, such as drug carriers or repair and regeneration biomaterials, is a concerned topic for biological and material scientists. Nanocellulose and alginate are derived from natural polysaccharides, and have gained much attention for their use as multiple biomedical materials. Especially for nanocellulose, more and more researchers recently recognized its potential for biomedical applications because of its remarkable strength, biocompatibility, low toxicity together with its chemical and morphological controllability.


This project is a prospective research aiming to further develop nanocellulose and alginate based biomaterials as novel drug carrier systems.

In our previous work, we have developed two drug delivery systems, namely pH-sensitive nanocellulose/sodium alginate microspheres, and nanocellulose/cyclodextrin hydrogel. We have proved that the use of cellulose nanocristals enables a spatial trapping of drug molecules, and imparts to the system a controlled-release capacity.

In this project, we are exploring the interactions between drug molecules and nanocellulose, with the aim of designing a novel biomaterial for drug delivery.

An innovative multi-membrane hydrogel made of cationic nanocellulose and anionic alginate, able to load drug molecules and/or growth factors, is currently being developed. Through adjusting the concentration of nanocellulose in each layer, the structure and strength of the hydrogel can be gradually or alternately changed, in order to obtain a controlled-release of the drug and even a “pulse-like” delivery.


This project involves a collaboration between three research departments in Grenoble: LGP2 (Pulp and Paper Sciences and Graphic Arts), LRP (Rheology and Processes), and DPM (Molecular Pharmaco-chemistry).


PI: Ning Lin (view his CV); Co-PI: Alain Dufresne

Atomic force microscopy images of cotton cellulose nanocrystals. Top: 3.3 × 3.3 μm;

Bottom: 1.1 × 1.1 μm

Projet update

Published in 2015: Chen J, Lin N, Huang J, Dufresne A. Highly alkynyl-functionalization of cellulose nanocrystals and advanced nanocomposites thereof via click chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, 6, 4385-4395 (2015). Read the online version

Published in 2016: Lin N, Gèze A, Wouessidjewe D, Huang J, Dufresne A. Biocompatible double-membrane hydrogels from cationic cellulose nanocrystals and anionic alginates as complexing drugs codelivery, Applied Materials and Interfaces, (2016). Read the online version

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