Protein-based fiber materials in medicine: A review

Kelsey G. DeFrates, Robert Moore, Julia Borgesi, Guowei Lin, Thomas Mulderig, Vince Beachley, Xiao Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Fibrous materials have garnered much interest in the field of biomedical engineering due to their high surface-area-to-volume ratio, porosity, and tunability. Specifically, in the field of tissue engineering, fiber meshes have been used to create biomimetic nanostructures that allow for cell attachment, migration, and proliferation, to promote tissue regeneration and wound healing, as well as controllable drug delivery. In addition to the properties of conventional, synthetic polymer fibers, fibers made from natural polymers, such as proteins, can exhibit enhanced biocompatibility, bioactivity, and biodegradability. Of these proteins, keratin, collagen, silk, elastin, zein, and soy are some the most common used in fiber fabrication. The specific capabilities of these materials have been shown to vary based on their physical properties, as well as their fabrication method. To date, such fabrication methods include electrospinning, wet/dry jet spinning, dry spinning, centrifugal spinning, solution blowing, self-assembly, phase separation, and drawing. This review serves to provide a basic knowledge of these commonly utilized proteins and methods, as well as the fabricated fibers’ applications in biomedical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number457
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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