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Structure-function study of N-isopropylacrylamide copolymers with enzyme degradable GAPGLF and GAPGLL side chains

Description

With an increased demand for more enzyme-sensitive, bioresorbable and more biodegradable polymers, various studies of copolymers have been developed. Polymers are widely used in various applications of biomedical engineering such as in tissue engineering, drug delivery and wound healing. Depending

With an increased demand for more enzyme-sensitive, bioresorbable and more biodegradable polymers, various studies of copolymers have been developed. Polymers are widely used in various applications of biomedical engineering such as in tissue engineering, drug delivery and wound healing. Depending on the conditions in which polymers are used, they are modified to accommodate a specific need. For instance, polymers used in drug delivery are more efficient if they are biodegradable. This ensures that the delivery system does not remain in the body after releasing the drug. It is therefore crucial that the polymer used in the drug system possess biodegradable properties. Such modification can be done in different ways including the use of peptides to make copolymers that will degrade in the presence of enzymes. In this work, we studied the effect of a polypeptide GAPGLL on the polymer NIPAAm and compare with the previously studied Poly(NIPAAm-co-GAPGLF). Both copolymers Poly(NIPAAm-co-GAPGLL) were first synthesized from Poly(NIPAAm-co-NASI) through nucleophilic substitution by the two peptides. The synthesis of these copolymers was confirmed by 1H NMR spectra and through cloud point measurement, the corresponding LCST was determined. Both copolymers were degraded by collagenase enzyme at 25 ° C and their 1H NMR spectra confirmed this process. Both copolymers were cleaved by collagenase, leading to an increase in solubility which yielded a higher LCST compared to before enzyme degradation. Future studies will focus on evaluating other peptides and also using other techniques such as Differential Scanning Microcalorimetry (DSC) to better observe the LCST behavior. Moreover, enzyme kinetics studies is also crucial to evaluate how fast the enzyme degrades each of the copolymers.

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2018-05

Optimizing Recombinant Protein Production for Domain Antibodies: Proof-of-Concept

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

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.

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2019-05

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Advanced biomaterials and microengineering technologies to recapitulate the stepwise process of cancer metastasis

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Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally according to the World Health Organization. Although improved treatments and early diagnoses have reduced cancer related mortalities, metastatic disease remains a major clinical challenge. The local tumor microenvironment plays a

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally according to the World Health Organization. Although improved treatments and early diagnoses have reduced cancer related mortalities, metastatic disease remains a major clinical challenge. The local tumor microenvironment plays a significant role in cancer metastasis, where tumor cells respond and adapt to a plethora of biochemical and biophysical signals from stromal cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Due to these complexities, there is a critical need to understand molecular mechanisms underlying cancer metastasis to facilitate the discovery of more effective therapies. In the past few years, the integration of advanced biomaterials and microengineering approaches has initiated the development of innovative platform technologies for cancer research. These technologies enable the creation of biomimetic in vitro models with physiologically relevant (i.e. in vivo-like) characteristics to conduct studies ranging from fundamental cancer biology to high-throughput drug screening. In this review article, we discuss the biological significance of each step of the metastatic cascade and provide a broad overview on recent progress to recapitulate these stages using advanced biomaterials and microengineered technologies. In each section, we will highlight the advantages and shortcomings of each approach and provide our perspectives on future directions.

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2017-05

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Investigating the Effect of a Hyaluronic Acid-Laminin Hydrogel on Inflammation After Traumatic Brain Injury

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

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.

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2016-05

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Enhancing CXCR4 expression of hNPCs using Hyaluronic Acid - Laminin Hydrogel: A Potential Treatment for TBI

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.

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.

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2016-05

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Electrically Conductive Hydrogel-Based Topographies for Development of Three Dimensional (3D) Cardiac Tissues

Description

Cardiac tissue engineering is an emerging field that has the potential to regenerate and repair damaged cardiac tissues after myocardial infarction. Numerous studies have introduced hydrogel-based cardiac tissue constructs featuring suitable microenvironments for cell growth along with precise surface topographies

Cardiac tissue engineering is an emerging field that has the potential to regenerate and repair damaged cardiac tissues after myocardial infarction. Numerous studies have introduced hydrogel-based cardiac tissue constructs featuring suitable microenvironments for cell growth along with precise surface topographies for directed cell organization. Despite significant progress, previously developed cardiac tissue constructs have suffered from electrically insulated matrices and low cell retention. To address these drawbacks, we fabricated micropatterned hybrid hydrogel constructs (uniaxial microgrooves with 50 µm with) using a photocrosslinkable gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) hydrogel incorporated with gold nanorods (GNRs). The electrical impedance results revealed a lower impedance in the GelMA-GNR constructs versus the pure GelMA constructs. Superior electrical conductivity of GelMA-GNR hydrogels (due to incorporation of GNRs) enabled the hybrid tissue constructs to be externally stimulated using a pulse generator. Furthermore, GelMA-GNR tissue hydrogels were tested to investigate the biological characteristics of cultured cardiomyocytes. The F-actin fiber analysis results (area coverage and alignment indices) revealed higher directed (uniaxial) cytoskeleton organization of cardiac cells cultured on the GelMA-GNR hydrogel constructs in comparison to pure GelMA. Considerable increase in the coverage area of cardiac-specific markers (sarcomeric α-actinin and connexin 43) were observed on the GelMA-GNR hybrid constructs compared to pure GelMA hydrogels. Despite substantial dissimilarities in cell organization, both pure GelMA and hybrid GelMA-GNR hydrogel constructs provided a suitable microenvironment for synchronous beating of cardiomyocytes.

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2016-05

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Thermo-Responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-Based Polymers for Endovascular Brain Aneurysm Repair

Description

There is an increasing interest in developing thermo-responsive polymers for treating aneurysms. In this thesis project, the potential for poly(NIPAAm-co-JAAm-co-HEMA-Acrylate) (PNJHAc) as a treatment method for brain aneurysms was investigated. Five different batches of polymer were synthesized, purified, lyophilized, and

There is an increasing interest in developing thermo-responsive polymers for treating aneurysms. In this thesis project, the potential for poly(NIPAAm-co-JAAm-co-HEMA-Acrylate) (PNJHAc) as a treatment method for brain aneurysms was investigated. Five different batches of polymer were synthesized, purified, lyophilized, and characterized using nuclear magnetic resonance and cloud point techniques over the course of several months. Two were tested in aneurysm models. Of these five batches, there were two that showed promise as liquid embolic agents for endovascular embolization.

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2020-05

Statistical Modeling of Drug Release from Spherical Surface-Degrading Particle Batch

Description

The goal of this research project is to create a Mathcad template file capable of statistically modelling the effects of mean and standard deviation on a microparticle batch characterized by the log normal distribution model. Such a file can be

The goal of this research project is to create a Mathcad template file capable of statistically modelling the effects of mean and standard deviation on a microparticle batch characterized by the log normal distribution model. Such a file can be applied during manufacturing to explore tolerances and increase cost and time effectiveness. Theoretical data for the time to 60% drug release and the slope and intercept of the log-log plot were collected and subjected to statistical analysis in JMP. Since the scope of this project focuses on microparticle surface degradation drug release with no drug diffusion, the characteristic variables relating to the slope (n = diffusional release exponent) and the intercept (k = kinetic constant) do not directly apply to the distribution model within the scope of the research. However, these variables are useful for analysis when the Mathcad template is applied to other types of drug release models.

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2021-05