Thrombosis and biofouling of extracorporeal circuits and indwelling medical devices cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. We apply a bioinspired, omniphobic coating to tubing and catheters and show that it completely repels blood and suppresses biofilm formation. The coating is a covalently tethered, flexible molecular layer of perfluorocarbon, which holds a thin liquid film of medical-grade perfluorocarbon on the surface. This coating prevents fibrin attachment, reduces platelet adhesion and activation, suppresses biofilm formation and is stable under blood flow in vitro. Surface-coated medical-grade tubing and catheters, assembled into arteriovenous shunts and implanted in pigs, remain patent for at least 8 h without anticoagulation. This surface-coating technology could reduce the use of anticoagulants in patients and help to prevent thrombotic occlusion and biofouling of medical devices.

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This work was supported by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency grant N66001-11-1-4180 and contract HR0011-13-C-0025, and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. We thank D. Super, R. Cooper, E. Murray and J. Lee for phlebotomy, T. Ferrante for assistance with fluorescence microscopy, H. Kozakewich for assistance with histology evaluation and O. Ahanotu for assistance in preparing surfaces. Scanning electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were conducted at the Center for Nanoscale Systems at Harvard University, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (ECS-0335765).

Author information

Author notes

    • Benjamin D Hatton

    Present address: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    • Daniel C Leslie
    •  & Anna Waterhouse

    These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Daniel C Leslie
    • , Anna Waterhouse
    • , Julia B Berthet
    • , Thomas M Valentin
    • , Alexander L Watters
    • , Abhishek Jain
    • , Philseok Kim
    • , Benjamin D Hatton
    • , Elana H Super
    • , Caitlin Howell
    • , Christopher P Johnson
    • , Thy L Vu
    • , Dana E Bolgen
    • , Sami Rifai
    • , Michael Aizenberg
    • , Michael Super
    • , Joanna Aizenberg
    •  & Donald E Ingber
  2. School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Daniel C Leslie
    • , Philseok Kim
    • , Benjamin D Hatton
    • , Caitlin Howell
    • , Christopher P Johnson
    • , Thy L Vu
    • , Joanna Aizenberg
    •  & Donald E Ingber
  3. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Daniel C Leslie
    • , Anna Waterhouse
    • , Julia B Berthet
    • , Thomas M Valentin
    • , Alexander L Watters
    • , Abhishek Jain
    • , Anne R Hansen
    • , Michael Super
    •  & Donald E Ingber
  4. Vascular Biology Program, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Daniel C Leslie
    • , Abhishek Jain
    • , Michael Super
    •  & Donald E Ingber
  5. Division of Newborn Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Anna Waterhouse
    • , Julia B Berthet
    •  & Anne R Hansen
  6. Animal Research, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Arthur Nedder
    •  & Kathryn Donovan
  7. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Joanna Aizenberg


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D.C.L., A.W., J.B.B., T.M.V., A.L.W., A.J., M.A., M.S., J.A. and D.E.I. designed the research. D.C.L., A.W., J.B.B., T.M.V., A.L.W., A.J., P.K., B.D.H., E.H.S., D.E.B. and S.R. performed experiments. D.C.L., A.W., J.B.B., T.M.V., A.L.W., A.J., E.H.S., M.A., M.S., J.A. and D.E.I. analyzed data. C.H., C.P.J., T.L.V., M.A. and J.A. designed, performed and analyzed the PFD leaching study. D.C.L., A.W., J.B.B., A.N., K.D., D.E.B., A.R.H., M.S. and D.E.I. designed, performed and analyzed the in vivo study. D.C.L., A.W., A.L.W., M.A., M.S., J.A. and D.E.I. wrote the paper with input from all authors.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Donald E Ingber.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Text and Figures

    Supplementary Figures 1–12, Supplementary Tables 1 and 2 and Supplementary Note 1


  1. 1.

    Supplementary Movie 1

    Adhesion of human blood on untreated control acrylic. Movie of human whole blood anticoagulated with 3.2% sodium citrate)adhering to an uncoated control acrylic surface.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Movie 2

    Repulsion of human blood by TLP acrylic. Movie of human whole blood (anticoagulated with 3.2% sodium citrate) repelled by a TLP acrylic surface.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Movie 3

    Repulsion of human blood by TLP acrylic and polypropylene. Movie of TLP acrylic (left) and control acrylic (right) being immersed in human blood, showing no adhesion on TLP. The blood is then poured out of the TLP (left) and control (right) polypropylene (PP)tubes, again showing no adhesion of blood on the TLP surface.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Movie 4

    Gecko maintains adhesion to a control acrylic cylinder as it is slowly tilted from horizontal to vertical.

  5. 5.

    Supplementary Movie 5

    Gecko fails to adhere to a TLP-coated acrylic cylinder as it is slowly tilted from horizontal to vertical.

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