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C Mauli Agrawal, Joo L Ong, Mark R Appleford & Gopinath Mani

Cambridge University Press, £45.00

A biomaterial is a natural or synthetic substance that is engineered to take a form that, alone or in combination, interacts with components of a living system to provide a beneficial effect. They are often used in medical applications to perform, augment or replace a natural function – think heart valves, cochlear implants and hip replacements.

A wide range of physical, biological and chemical sciences underpin the design of biomaterials and the clinical disciplines to which they are relevant. These include polymer synthesis and characterisation, drug and gene vector design, biology of the host response, immunology and toxicology, and self-assembly at the nanoscopic scale. This textbook is aimed at undergraduate engineering, bioscience and medical students, but would equally provide a valuable primer for a postgraduate researcher new to biomedical engineering.

The opening chapters introduce and outline the basic properties of the materials – metals, polymers, ceramics, and composite and naturally occurring substances. The preparatory techniques of surface modification, sterilisation and cell matrix compatibility testing are considered by discussing diverse applications such as drug delivery, tissue engineering, and specific medical and dental functions.

This well compiled book is readily accessible to a wide readership, as the authors do not assume background knowledge of any particular field of study. Moreover, Introduction to Biomaterials strikes a pleasing balance between life science and engineering, so that both scientific principles and engineering applications are presented with a view to blending theory and practice.

Professor Andrew Taylor-Robinson CBiol FRSB