Course syllabus


TIF125 Cell and tissue interactions with biomaterials lp4 VT24 (7.5 hp)

This course is offered by the Department of Physics, Chalmers.

Contact details

  • Examiner & main lecturer
    Julie Gold, Professor of Biomaterials, Dept of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, (031) 772 3465, 070 646 7047
  • Guest lecturers
    • Anders Jeppsson <>
      Professor and Chief Physician
      Dept of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
      Sahlgrenska University Hospital

      Edvin Blomstrand <>
      Amferia AB
      Astra Zeneca BioVentureHub

      Margarita Trobos <>
      Associate Professor
      Dept of Biomaterials
      Gothenburg University

      Kristina Fant <>
      Senior Consultant

Course aims

The aim of this course is for students to learn the mechanisms by which the human body reacts to a foreign material being in contact with, or implanted into, living tissues. The goal is to understand the basics of "biocompatibility" - what it is and how to determine it. Students learn about normal wound healing in the absence of a foreign material, and then how the presence of a material might influence the outcome of the wound healing response.

An understanding of tissue reactions to biomaterials is necessary in order to design new materials, surface treatments or strategies for repairing, replacing or regenerating tissues and organs. 


Please use the course schedule master Excel file which you can find under the Module "Course information". This will show you which are the mandatory sessions to attend, where we will meet, what we will do, etc.


Course literature

Official course textbook: Biomaterials science : An introduction to materials in medicine, ed. WR Wagner et al., Elsevier Academic Press, c2020, 4th ed. THIS IS AN EBOOK via CHALMERS LIBRARY

Additional reference book, not required: Biomaterials-The intersection of biology and materials science, by JS Temenoff, AG Mikos, Pearson Prentice Hall Bioengineering, c2008 PAPER ONLY 3 copies @ CHALMERS LIBRARY or borrow from course instructor. This is good for a more basic introduction or description of the lecture topics

Course design

The course consists of lectures as well as in-class discussions and problem solving in groups.

There is a workshop on reading and writing research articles in preparation for the article review sessions, where we critically review and discuss two recent research articles.

We will also work in groups to prepare for and conduct a mock Regulatory Affairs Hearing, where a group of patients sue a medical device manufacturer. It is meant for us to learn about the main aspects of the regulatory process to get market approval for medical devices. Specifically, focus is placed on how to determine the biocompatibility of a device, and the materials it is made of, for a particular application in the body.

Suggested readings in the textbook as well as reference books and additional handouts, corresponding to the course/lecture topics, are provided.

Self-study questions with answers are also provided.

There is a written quiz half way through the course as well as a written final exam.

Changes made since the last occasion

Working on improving the in class exercises / flipped classroom activities based on feedback from last year's students, as well as some small details regarding the hearing.

Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

  • Correctly define and articulate the concept of biocompatibility and how to determine it
  • Differentiate between scenarios of wound healing with and without a foreign material
  • Argue a case on biocompatibility testing and regulatory aspects of biomaterials and medical devices
  • Critically evaluate and discuss with peers scientific publications in the biomaterials field, specifically from research journals

More specific learning outcomes include the following:

• Describe the key components of the tissue-material interface.
• Describe key properties of surfaces, proteins and biological fluids that influence the nature of protein adsorption to surfaces.
• Describe the major components of tissue, and how cells interact with their microenvironments, both in vivo and in vitro.
• Describe main issues in blood-material interactions, including platelet activation, fibrin clot formation, and mechanisms to control blood coagulation processes.
•Define main symptoms of, and key cell types involved in the inflammatory response. Describe the four lines of defence of the inflammatory system, and the connections between blood coagulation and inflammatory processes.
• Discuss the significance of biomaterials related infections, which bacteria are involved, and approaches to treat and prevent their occurance.
• Describe the innate versus the acquired immune systems, including key cell types and molecular events involved in each.
• Describe the Classical versus the Alternative pathways of complement activation, and the links between the inflammatory process and the complement system.
• Describe complement-mediated reactions to biomaterials and how they are regulated and can be controlled.
• Compare the phases of normal wound healing of tissues with those of wound healing around implant materials.
• Describe the events leading to fibrous capsule formation around implants and the key parameters influencing its formation.
• Be familiar with the regulatory guidelines for marketing medical devices and recommended tests to evaluate biocompatibility of devices and their materials.


Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan


Examination form

Article reviews & sessions  26 pts   (13 pts each x 2)

        Written article reviews    11 pts each

        Contribution to article review sessions    2 pts each

Regulatory case study/Hearing (group grade)  14 pts

        Pre-hearing report & statements (group grade)  10 pts

        Contribution to the hearing   4 pts

Quiz (written, in class)  20 pts

Final exam (written, in exam hall)  40 pts

Total  100 pts


Grading scale:

5 = 84-100 pts,   4 = 67-83 pts,   3 = 50-66 pts,    U (fail) < 50 pts

You need to get a passing grade (≥20pts) on the final exam in order to pass the course.

Course summary:

Date Details Due