Hydrogels are attractive materials for use as tissue engineering scaffolds [1]. Natural hydrogels, such as collagen, are both cytocompatible and highly biofunctional. However, they have somewhat constrained material properties and have an inherently large variability in composition due to their biological origin, making them more difficult to work with from an engineering viewpoint[2–4]. Here, we aim to use type 1 collagen — the most abundant protein in the body that maintains excellent cytocompatibility and can self assemble into a fibrillar network — as a base component for a photocrosslinkable biomaterial. One main advantage of this system over previous studies attempting to photocrosslink collagen is that the collagen retains its ability to self assemble, which provides a stable environment into which localized modifications can be made to the stiffness, porosity, and biochemical properties of the hydrogel scaffold. By taking advantage of the spatial control provided by the system, we can create complex 3-dimensional hydrogel scaffolds that have non-homogenous microenvironments.

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