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

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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

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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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Synthesis of Dual Layered Microparticles for Tunable Delayed Release Profile

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The primary objective of this research project is to develop dual layered polymeric microparticles with a tunable delayed release profile. Poly(L-lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) phase separate in a double emulsion process due to differences in hydrophobicity, which

The primary objective of this research project is to develop dual layered polymeric microparticles with a tunable delayed release profile. Poly(L-lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) phase separate in a double emulsion process due to differences in hydrophobicity, which allows for the synthesis of double-walled microparticles with a PLA shell surrounding the PLGA core. The microparticles were loaded with bovine serum albumin (BSA) and different volumes of ethanol were added to the PLA shell phase to alter the porosity and release characteristics of the BSA. Different amounts of ethanol varied the total loading percentage of the BSA, the release profile, surface morphology, size distribution, and the localization of the protein within the particles. Scanning electron microscopy images detailed the surface morphology of the different particles. Loading the particles with fluorescently tagged insulin and imaging the particles through confocal microscopy supported the localization of the protein inside the particle. The study suggest that ethanol alters the release characteristics of the loaded BSA encapsulated in the microparticles supporting the use of a polar, protic solvent as a tool for tuning the delayed release profile of biological proteins.

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2015-05

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

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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

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

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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