The present work describes the preparation of hyaluronan derivatives and hydrogels with potential use in tissue engineering applications. A potentially injectable hydrogel consisting of hyaluronan and collagen was successfully used to grow neurons in vitro by encapsulation of neural stem and progenitor cells. Attempts were further made to establish a suitable modification strategy which could be used for the preparation of in vivo cross-linkable hyaluronan derivatives. The synthesis of a model substance consisting of a D-glucuronate derivative which could simplify the development of such a modification technique is described, although a new method to prepare hyaluronan derivatives was found without its use. The modification strategy involves the use of a triazine-reagent which enables the covalent attachment of hydrophilic and hydrophobic amines to hyaluronan carboxyl groups in a controlled fashion under mild conditions. Using triazine-activated amidation we synthesized an aldehyde-derivative of hyaluronan which was used to prepare gels by cross-linking with hydrazide-modified polyvinyl-alcohol. Gels were formed in less than 1 minute by mixing equal volumes of the polymer derivatives and they were subsequently used as a carrier for bone morphogenetic protein-2. An in vitro release study showed that approximately 88% of the growth factor is retained in the gel over a 4 week period. The ability to form new bone in vivo was further evaluated in an ectopic rat model by the injection of gels containing 30 µg BMP-2. Radiographic and histological examination 4 and 10 weeks after injection showed the formation of new bone without any signs of inflammation or foreign body response. Hydroxyapatite particles were further added to improve the mechanical properties of the gel, and a comparative study was conducted. This time the induced tissue consisted not only of bone, but also of interconnected cartilage and tendon, as confirmed by histology and immunohistochemistry.