Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Tarun Goswami, Ph.D. (Advisor); Lawrence Drummy, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Ulas Sunar, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Jaime E. Ramirez-Vick, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MSBME)


Melanin is a naturally produced pigment found within the human body. Melanin is known for its ability to protect against Ultra Violet light, but also its ability to allow for mechanical protection. Making melanin a good addition to biomedical devices such as hydrogels. Silk hydrogels are weak in their load bearing capabilities but are known for their biocompatibility, biodegradability, and porosity. This makes the silk hydrogel a good material to incorporate melanin into in order to improve the mechanical properties. For the silk solution to form a solid, there must be a presence of both a catalyst and an oxidizer to cross-link. Once the solution is crosslinked it forms a gel, also referred to as a hydrogel due to its water retaining abilities. In this work, eumelanin was produced from bacteria and mixed into a silk solution to form hydrogels that were studied and tested. Results showed that the hydrogels incorporated with melanin were stronger than the control, and that the melanin mixed with the silk solution without the presence of a catalyst was able to cause gelation.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering

Year Degree Awarded