• biomaterials;
  • covalent cross-linking;
  • injectable hydrogels;
  • in situ gelation;
  • polymer engineering
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Hydrogels that can form spontaneously via covalent bond formation upon injection in vivo have recently attracted significant attention for their potential to address a variety of biomedical challenges. This review discusses the design rules for the effective engineering of such materials, and the major chemistries used to form injectable, in situ gelling hydrogels in the context of these design guidelines are outlined (with examples). Directions for future research in the area are addressed, noting the outstanding challenges associated with the use of this class of hydrogels in vivo.