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Myocardial infarction (MI) remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the U.S., accounting for nearly 140,000 deaths per year. Heart transplantation and implantation of mechanical assist devices are the options of last resort for intractable heart failure, but these are limited by lack of organ donors and potential

Myocardial infarction (MI) remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the U.S., accounting for nearly 140,000 deaths per year. Heart transplantation and implantation of mechanical assist devices are the options of last resort for intractable heart failure, but these are limited by lack of organ donors and potential surgical complications. In this regard, there is an urgent need for developing new effective therapeutic strategies to induce regeneration and restore the loss contractility of infarcted myocardium. Over the past decades, regenerative medicine has emerged as a promising strategy to develop scaffold-free cell therapies and scaffold-based cardiac patches as potential approaches for MI treatment. Despite the progress, there are still critical shortcomings associated with these approaches regarding low cell retention, lack of global cardiomyocytes (CMs) synchronicity, as well as poor maturation and engraftment of the transplanted cells within the native myocardium. The overarching objective of this dissertation was to develop two classes of nanoengineered cardiac patches and scaffold-free microtissues with superior electrical, structural, and biological characteristics to address the limitations of previously developed tissue models. An integrated strategy, based on micro- and nanoscale technologies, was utilized to fabricate the proposed tissue models using functionalized gold nanomaterials (GNMs). Furthermore, comprehensive mechanistic studies were carried out to assess the influence of conductive GNMs on the electrophysiology and maturity of the engineered cardiac tissues. Specifically, the role of mechanical stiffness and nano-scale topographies of the scaffold, due to the incorporation of GNMs, on cardiac cells phenotype, contractility, and excitability were dissected from the scaffold’s electrical conductivity. In addition, the influence of GNMs on conduction velocity of CMs was investigated in both coupled and uncoupled gap junctions using microelectrode array technology. Overall, the key contributions of this work were to generate new classes of electrically conductive cardiac patches and scaffold-free microtissues and to mechanistically investigate the influence of conductive GNMs on maturation and electrophysiology of the engineered tissues.

ContributorsNavaei, Ali (Author) / Nikkhah, Mehdi (Thesis advisor) / Brafman, David (Committee member) / Migrino, Raymond Q. (Committee member) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Committee member) / Vernon, Brent (Committee member) / Arizona State University (Publisher)
Created2018
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Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result in numerous pathologies that cannot currently be mitigated by clinical interventions. Stem cell therapies are widely researched to address TBI-related pathologies with limited success in pre-clinical models due to limitations in transplant survival rates. To address this issue, the use of tissue engineered scaffolds

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may result in numerous pathologies that cannot currently be mitigated by clinical interventions. Stem cell therapies are widely researched to address TBI-related pathologies with limited success in pre-clinical models due to limitations in transplant survival rates. To address this issue, the use of tissue engineered scaffolds as a delivery mechanism has been explored to improve survival and engraftment rates. Previous work with hyaluronic acid \u2014 laminin (HA-Lm) gels found high viability and engraftment rates of mouse fetal derived neural progenitor/stem cells (NPSCs) cultured on the gel. Furthermore, NPSCs exposed to the HA-Lm gels exhibit increased expression of CXCR4, a critical surface receptor that promotes cell migration. We hypothesized that culturing hNPCs on the HA-Lm gel would increase CXCR4 expression, and thus enhance their ability to migrate into sites of tissue damage. In order to test this hypothesis, we designed gel scaffolds with mechanical properties that were optimized to match that of the natural extracellular matrix. A live/dead assay showed that hNPCs preferred the gel with this optimized formulation, compared to a stiffer gel that was used in the CXCR4 expression experiment. We found that there may be increased CXCR4 expression of hNPCs plated on the HA-Lm gel after 24 hours, indicating that HA-Lm gels may provide a valuable scaffold to support viability and migration of hNPCs to the injury site. Future studies aimed at verifying increased CXCR4 expression of hNPCs cultured on HA-Lm gels are necessary to determine if HA-Lm gels can provide a beneficial scaffold for stem cell engraftment therapy for treating TBI.

ContributorsHemphill, Kathryn Elizabeth (Author) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Thesis director) / Brafman, David (Committee member) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
Created2016-05
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Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death in individuals under the age of 45, resulting in over 50,000 deaths each year. Over 80,000 TBI patients report long-term deficits consisting of motor or cognitive dysfunctions due to TBI pathophysiology. The biochemical secondary injury triggers a harmful inflammatory cascade,

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death in individuals under the age of 45, resulting in over 50,000 deaths each year. Over 80,000 TBI patients report long-term deficits consisting of motor or cognitive dysfunctions due to TBI pathophysiology. The biochemical secondary injury triggers a harmful inflammatory cascade, gliosis, and astrocyte activation surrounding the injury lesion, and no current treatments exist to alleviate these underlying pathologies. In order to mitigate the negative inflammatory effects of the secondary injury, we created a hydrogel comprised of hyaluronic acid (HA) and laminin, and we hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory properties of HA will decrease astrocyte activation and inflammation after TBI. C57/BL6 mice were subjected to mild-to-moderate CCI. Three days following injury, mice were treated with injection of vehicle or HA-Laminin hydrogel. Mice were sacrificed at three and seven days post injection and analyzed for astrocyte and inflammatory responses. In mice treated with vehicle injections, astrocyte activation was significantly increased at three days post-transplantation in the injured cortex and injury lesion. However, mice treated with the HA-Laminin hydrogel experienced significantly reduced acute astrocyte activation at the injury site three days post transplantation. Interestingly, there were no significant differences in astrocyte activation at seven days post treatment in either group. Although the microglial and macrophage response remains to be investigated, our data suggest that the HA-Laminin hydrogel demonstrates potential for TBI therapeutics targeting inflammation, including acute modulation of the astrocyte, microglia, and macrophage response to TBI.

ContributorsGoddery, Emma Nicole (Author) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Thesis director) / Addington, Caroline (Committee member) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
Created2016-05
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Description

Specificity and affinity towards a given ligand/epitope limit target-specific delivery. Companies can spend between $500 million to $2 billion attempting to discover a new drug or therapy; a significant portion of this expense funds high-throughput screening to find the most successful target-specific compound available. A more recent addition to discovering

Specificity and affinity towards a given ligand/epitope limit target-specific delivery. Companies can spend between $500 million to $2 billion attempting to discover a new drug or therapy; a significant portion of this expense funds high-throughput screening to find the most successful target-specific compound available. A more recent addition to discovering highly specific targets is the application of phage display utilizing single chain variable fragment antibodies (scFv). The aim of this research was to employ phage display to identify pathologies related to traumatic brain injury (TBI), particularly astrogliosis. A unique biopanning method against viable astrocyte cultures activated with TGF-β achieved this aim. Four scFv clones of interest showed varying relative affinities toward astrocytes. One of those four showed the ability to identify reactive astroctyes over basal astrocytes through max signal readings, while another showed a statistical significance in max signal reading toward basal astrocytes. Future studies will include further affinity characterization assays. This work contributes to the development of targeting therapeutics and diagnostics for TBI.

ContributorsMarsh, William (Author) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Thesis advisor) / Caplan, Michael (Committee member) / Sierks, Michael (Committee member) / Arizona State University (Publisher)
Created2013
Description

Polymeric nanoparticles (NP) consisting of Poly Lactic-co-lactic acid - methyl polyethylene glycol (PLLA-mPEG) or Poly Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid (PLGA) are an emerging field of study for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. NPs have a variety of tunable physical characteristics like size, morphology, and surface topography. They can be loaded with therapeutic and/or

Polymeric nanoparticles (NP) consisting of Poly Lactic-co-lactic acid - methyl polyethylene glycol (PLLA-mPEG) or Poly Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid (PLGA) are an emerging field of study for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. NPs have a variety of tunable physical characteristics like size, morphology, and surface topography. They can be loaded with therapeutic and/or diagnostic agents, either on the surface or within the core. NP size is an important characteristic as it directly impacts clearance and where the particles can travel and bind in the body. To that end, the typical target size for NPs is 30-200 nm for the majority of applications. Fabricating NPs using the typical techniques such as drop emulsion, microfluidics, or traditional nanoprecipitation can be expensive and may not yield the appropriate particle size. Therefore, a need has emerged for low-cost fabrication methods that allow customization of NP physical characteristics with high reproducibility. In this study we manufactured a low-cost (<$210), open-source syringe pump that can be used in nanoprecipitation. A design of experiments was utilized to find the relationship between the independent variables: polymer concentration (mg/mL), agitation rate of aqueous solution (rpm), and injection rate of the polymer solution (mL/min) and the dependent variables: size (nm), zeta potential, and polydispersity index (PDI). The quarter factorial design consisted of 4 experiments, each of which was manufactured in batches of three. Each sample of each batch was measured three times via dynamic light scattering. The particles were made with PLLA-mPEG dissolved in a 50% dichloromethane and 50% acetone solution. The polymer solution was dispensed into the aqueous solution containing 0.3% polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). Data suggests that none of the factors had a statistically significant effect on NP size. However, all interactions and relationships showed that there was a negative correlation between the above defined input parameters and the NP size. The NP sizes ranged from 276.144 ± 14.710 nm at the largest to 185.611 ± 15.634 nm at the smallest. In conclusion, the low-cost syringe pump nanoprecipitation method can achieve small sizes like the ones reported with drop emulsion or microfluidics. While there are trends suggesting predictable tuning of physical characteristics, significant control over the customization has not yet been achieved.

ContributorsDalal, Dhrasti (Author) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Thesis director) / Wang, Kuei-Chun (Committee member) / Flores-Prieto, David (Committee member) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor)
Created2023-05
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Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an injury to the head that disrupts normal brain function. TBI has been described as a disease process that can lead to an increased risk for developing chronic neurodegenerative diseases, like frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A pathological hallmark

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an injury to the head that disrupts normal brain function. TBI has been described as a disease process that can lead to an increased risk for developing chronic neurodegenerative diseases, like frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A pathological hallmark of FTLD and a hallmark of ALS is the nuclear mislocalization of TAR DNA Binding Protein 43 (TDP-43). This project aims to explore neurodegenerative effects of TBI on cortical lesion area using immunohistochemical markers of TDP-43 proteinopathies. We analyzed the total percent of NEUN positive cells displaying TDP-43 nuclear mislocalization. We found that the percent of NEUN positive cells displaying TDP-43 nuclear mislocalization was significantly higher in cortical tissue following TBI when compared to the age-matched control brains. The cortical lesion area was analyzed for each injured brain sample, with respect to days post-injury (DPI), and it was found that there were no statistically significant differences between cortical lesion areas across time points. The percent of NEUN positive cells displaying TDP-43 nuclear mislocalization was analyzed for each cortical tissue sample, with respect to cortical lesion area, and it was found that there were no statistically significant differences between the percent of NEUN positive cells displaying TDP-43 nuclear mislocalization, with respect to cortical lesion area. In conclusion, we found no correlation between the percent of cortical NEUN positive cells displaying TDP-43 nuclear mislocalization with respect to the size of the cortical lesion area.

ContributorsWong, Jennifer (Author) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Thesis director) / Bjorklund, Reed (Committee member) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor)
Created2022-05
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Description

Annually approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) increasing the risk of developing a further neurological complication later in life [1-3]. The molecular drivers of the subsequent ensuing pathologies after the initial injury event are vast and include signaling processes that may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases

Annually approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) increasing the risk of developing a further neurological complication later in life [1-3]. The molecular drivers of the subsequent ensuing pathologies after the initial injury event are vast and include signaling processes that may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). One such molecular signaling pathway that may link TBI to AD is necroptosis. Necroptosis is an atypical mode of cell death compared with traditional apoptosis, both of which have been demonstrated to be present post-TBI [4-6]. Necroptosis is initiated by tissue necrosis factor (TNF) signaling through the RIPK1/RIPK3/MLKL pathway, leading to cell failure and subsequent death. Prior studies in rodent TBI models report necroptotic activity acutely after injury, within 48 hours. Here, the study objective was to recapitulate prior data and characterize MLKL and RIPK1 cortical expression post-TBI with our lab’s controlled cortical impact mouse model. Using standard immunohistochemistry approaches, it was determined that the tissue sections acquired by prior lab members were of poor quality to conduct robust MLKL and RIPK1 immunostaining assessment. Therefore, the thesis focused on presenting the staining method completed. The discussion also expanded on expected results from these studies regarding the spatial distribution necroptotic signaling in this TBI model.

ContributorsHuber, Kristin (Author) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Thesis director) / Brafman, David (Committee member) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor) / School of Molecular Sciences (Contributor)
Created2022-05
Description

Recent studies in traumatic brain injury (TBI) have found a temporal window where therapeutics on the nanometer scale can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the parenchyma. Developing protein-based therapeutics is attractive for a number of reasons, yet, the production pipeline for high yield and consistent bioactive recombinant proteins remains

Recent studies in traumatic brain injury (TBI) have found a temporal window where therapeutics on the nanometer scale can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the parenchyma. Developing protein-based therapeutics is attractive for a number of reasons, yet, the production pipeline for high yield and consistent bioactive recombinant proteins remains a major obstacle. Previous studies for recombinant protein production has utilized gram-negative hosts such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) due to its well-established genetics and fast growth for recombinant protein production. However, using gram-negative hosts require lysis that calls for additional optimization and also introduces endotoxins and proteases that contribute to protein degradation. This project directly addressed this issue and evaluated the potential to use a gram-positive host such as Brevibacillus choshinensis (Brevi) which does not require lysis as the proteins are expressed directly into the supernatant. This host was utilized to produce variants of Stock 11 (S11) protein as a proof-of-concept towards this methodology. Variants of S11 were synthesized using different restriction enzymes which will alter the location of protein tags that may affect production or purification. Factors such as incubation time, incubation temperature, and media were optimized for each variant of S11 using a robust design of experiments. All variants of S11 were grown using optimized parameters prior to purification via affinity chromatography. Results showed the efficiency of using Brevi as a potential host for domain antibody production in the Stabenfeldt lab. Future aims will focus on troubleshooting the purification process to optimize the protein production pipeline.

ContributorsEmbrador, Glenna Bea Rebano (Author) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Thesis director) / Plaisier, Christopher (Committee member) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor, Contributor) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
Created2019-05