Post-surgical healing with hydrogels

Despite advances in minimally-invasive procedures, methods for wound closure haven’t changed much. Dr. Rahul Singh is a part of a team at Baxter exploring new advanced materials, like hydrogels, that inflict less trauma on the body and result in fewer complications following surgery.

Tell us about your research…

I develop biomaterials with the goal of improving post-surgical healing. Current surgical approaches damage tissues and organs, leading to blood loss and an increased risk of complications. Application of materials which support tissue and stop bleeding can facilitate the body’s healing process and could lessen the trauma associated with surgical intervention.

I develop biomaterials with the goal of improving post-surgical healing. Current surgical approaches damage tissues and organs, leading to blood loss and an increased risk of complications

Specifically, I research hydrogel materials derived from the proteins collagen and fibrinogen, which have benefits of being biocompatible and resorbable. I develop techniques for purifying and stabilizing the activity of these proteins, manufacturing them into medical devices, and assessing their safety and efficacy in preclinical models. The resulting products could be used as surgical hemostats, patches, tissue supports, or sealants in a multitude of surgical interventions.

Can you explain that to a non-scientist?

I create medical devices, such as sprays and patches, which are used by doctors during a surgical procedure to reduce bleeding and improve healing following surgery.

How could it someday impact patient lives?

I believe my research has a direct impact on patient lives. Being in an industrial setting, I lead translation of novel materials into marketable medical products. Working with a talented and multidisciplinary team, we create processes to produce these devices in a safe and consistent manner.

Further, I collaborate with medical colleagues to generate clinical evidence to help surgeons decide if these devices are right for use in their practice.  My hope is that expanded use of these devices reduces post-surgical hemorrhage, adhesions, other complications from blood loss, and the incidence of repeat operations.

My hope is that expanded use of these devices reduces post-surgical hemorrhage, adhesions, other complications from blood loss, and the incidence of repeat operations.