AbstractProtein adsorption is considered to be the most important factor of the interaction between polymeric biomaterials and body fluids or tissues. Water-mediated hydrophobic and hydration forces as well as electrostatic interactions are believed to be the major factors of protein adsorption. A systematic analysis of various monolayer systems has resulted in general guidelines, the so-called “Whitesides rules”. These concepts have been successfully applied for designing various protein-resistant surfaces and are being studied to expand the understanding of protein–material interactions beyond existing limitations. Theories on the mechanisms of protein adsorption are constantly being improved due to the fast-developing analytical technologies. This Review is aimed at improving these empirical guidelines with regard to present theoretical and analytical advances. Current analytical methods to test mechanistic hypotheses and theories of protein–surface interactions will be discussed. Special focus will be given to state-of-the-art bioinert and biospecific coatings and their applications in biomedicine.