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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 allows for the synthesis of double-walled microparticles with a PLA

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.
ContributorsFauer, Chase Alexander (Author) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Thesis director) / Ankeny, Casey (Committee member) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor)
Created2015-05
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Description
One of the most prominent biological challenges for the field of drug delivery is the blood-brain barrier. This physiological system blocks the entry of or actively removes almost all small molecules into the central nervous system (CNS), including many drugs that could be used to treat diseases in the CNS.

One of the most prominent biological challenges for the field of drug delivery is the blood-brain barrier. This physiological system blocks the entry of or actively removes almost all small molecules into the central nervous system (CNS), including many drugs that could be used to treat diseases in the CNS. Previous studies have shown that activation of the adenosine receptor signaling pathway through the use of agonists has been demonstrated to increase BBB permeability. For example, regadenoson is an adenosine A2A receptor agonist that has been shown to disrupt the BBB and allow for increased drug uptake in the CNS. The goal of this study was to verify this property of regadenoson. We hypothesized that co-administration of regadenoson with a non-brain penetrant macromolecule would facilitate its entry into the central nervous system. To test this hypothesis, healthy mice were administered regadenoson or saline concomitantly with a fluorescent dextran solution. The brain tissue was either homogenized to measure quantity of fluorescent molecule, or cryosectioned for imaging with confocal fluorescence microscopy. These experiments did not identify any significant difference in the amount of fluorescence detected in the brain after regadenoson treatment. These results contradict those of previous studies and highlight potential differences in injection methodology, time windows, and properties of brain impermeant molecules.
ContributorsWohlleb, Gregory Michael (Author) / Sirianni, Rachael (Thesis director) / Stabenfeldt, Sarah (Committee member) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor)
Created2015-05
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Description
The aim of the present study was to review the symptoms and current treatment options of the most common skin infections seen in outpatient settings and develop a preliminary alternative treatment solution. The specific skin infections evaluated were those caused by Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacterial species, and are frequently treated

The aim of the present study was to review the symptoms and current treatment options of the most common skin infections seen in outpatient settings and develop a preliminary alternative treatment solution. The specific skin infections evaluated were those caused by Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacterial species, and are frequently treated with a wide variety of systemic antibiotics or topical ointments. Systemic antibiotics have shown increased occurrence of adverse side effects as well as the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Additionally, these medications are usually overprescribed, which may further exacerbate negative side effects. Another issue that is addressed is the development of infections following treatment of a new laceration or other trauma to the skin. A patient may be treated for their wound with stitches or another alternative, but there is still the possibility of developing an infection later.
This study synthesizes information found from extensive research and provides a review of the most optimal techniques for developing an alternative to systemic antibiotics. The final deliverable is a report detailing the significant findings and discussing the ways that this solution may be developed further and implemented in a clinical setting. The solution is a hydrogel bandage designed to deliver antibiotics directly to the wound site, while also offering protection and enhanced wound healing. The target population is patients suffering from skin conditions in an outpatient setting. The antibiotics of interest for this solution are clindamycin, doxycycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (co-trimoxazole), as they offer excellent treatment against gram-positive bacteria and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. However, other broad-spectrum antibiotics could potentially be incorporated to protect against gram-negative bacteria. The design features a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel that has shown many properties that are beneficial to biomedical applications, including biocompatibility, flexibility, high drug-loading capacity, high absorption of wound exudate, increased promotion of wound healing, and more. Preliminary mathematical models of the hydrogel’s drug delivery behaviors are also included. Due to the scope and timeframe of this project, the majority of findings herein are based on research of prior literature instead of development of the novel device. Future directions would include further research and development of the mechanisms behind the device, creation of a physical prototype, experimental testing, and statistical analyses to verify device specifications and capabilities.
ContributorsTanner, Emily Christine (Author) / Pizziconi, Vincent (Thesis director) / Nguyen, Eric (Committee member) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor, Contributor) / School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (Contributor) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
Created2020-05
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Description
Advancements in healthcare and the emergence of an aging population has led to an increase in the number of prosthetic joint procedures in the United States. According to Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, 660,876 and 348,970 total hip and knee arthroplasties were performed in 2014[1].The percentage of total hip or

Advancements in healthcare and the emergence of an aging population has led to an increase in the number of prosthetic joint procedures in the United States. According to Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, 660,876 and 348,970 total hip and knee arthroplasties were performed in 2014[1].The percentage of total hip or knee procedures that are revised due to an infection is 1.23% and 1.21% respectively[3], [4]. Although the percent of infections may be small, an infection can have a tremendous burden on the patient and healthcare system. It is expected that prosthetic joint infections (PJIs) will cost the healthcare system an estimated $1.62 billion by 2020[5]. PJIs are often difficult to treat due to the formation of biofilm at the site of the infection. A large majority of PJIs are the result of a bacterial biofilm, but around 1% of PJIs are due to fungal infections[3]. The current method of treatment is to surgically remove all infected tissue at the site of infection through a process called debridement and then insert a medicated bone cement spacer[7], [10]–[12]. One such medication that is loaded into the bone cement is caspofungin, a member of the echinocandin class of compounds that inhibit the synthesis of 1,3-β-D-glucan which is a crucial element of the cell wall of the target fungi[13]–[15]. For the studies reported herein, the caspofungin-loaded bone cement samples were made at 5 dosage strengths according to standard operating room practices. The elution of the drug was analyzed using ultraviolet spectrophotometry. The elution profiles were analyzed for 19 days consecutively, during which the 70 mg, 1 g, and 5 g dosage groups showed a prolonged, sustained release of the caspofungin. The 70 mg and 1 g dosage cumulative mass release profiles were not statistically significant, but it is unlikely that the difference would not have a clinical significance especially in the treatment of a fungal biofilm infection. The determination of the elution profile for caspofungin from loaded-bone cement can provide clinicians with a basis for how the drug will release into the infected joint.
ContributorsMoore, Rex C. (Author) / Vernon, Brent (Thesis director) / Overstreet, Derek (Committee member) / Industrial, Systems & Operations Engineering Prgm (Contributor) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor, Contributor) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
Created2019-05
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Description
With microspheres growing in popularity as viable systems for targeted drug therapeutics, there exist a host of diseases and pathology induced side effects which could be treated with poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) [PLGA] microparticle systems [6,10,12]. While PLGA systems are already applied in a wide variety the clinical setting [11], microparticles still

With microspheres growing in popularity as viable systems for targeted drug therapeutics, there exist a host of diseases and pathology induced side effects which could be treated with poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) [PLGA] microparticle systems [6,10,12]. While PLGA systems are already applied in a wide variety the clinical setting [11], microparticles still have some way to go before they are viable systems for drug delivery. One of the main reasons for this is a lack of fabrication processes and systems which produce monodisperse particles while also being feasible for industrialization [10]. This honors thesis investigates various microparticle fabrication techniques \u2014 two using mechanical agitation and one using fluid dynamics \u2014 with the long term goal of incorporating norepinephrine and adenosine into the particles for metabolic stimulatory purposes. It was found that mechanical agitation processes lead to large values for dispersity and the polydispersity index while fluid dynamics methods have the potential to create more uniform and predictable outcomes. The research concludes by needing further investigation into methods and prototype systems involving fluid dynamics methods; however, these systems yield promising results for fabricating monodisperse particles which have the potential to encapsulate a wide variety of therapeutic drugs.
ContributorsRiley, Levi Louis (Author) / Vernon, Brent (Thesis director) / VanAuker, Michael (Committee member) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
Created2018-12
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Description
Most daily living tasks consist of pairing a series of sequential movements, e.g., reaching to a cup, grabbing the cup, lifting and returning the cup to your mouth. The process by which we control and mediate the smooth progression of these tasks is not well understood. One method which we

Most daily living tasks consist of pairing a series of sequential movements, e.g., reaching to a cup, grabbing the cup, lifting and returning the cup to your mouth. The process by which we control and mediate the smooth progression of these tasks is not well understood. One method which we can use to further evaluate these motions is known as Startle Evoked Movements (SEM). SEM is an established technique to probe the motor learning and planning processes by detecting muscle activation of the sternocleidomastoid muscles of the neck prior to 120ms after a startling stimulus is presented. If activation of these muscles was detected following a stimulus in the 120ms window, the movement is classified as Startle+ whereas if no sternocleidomastoid activation is detected after a stimulus in the allotted time the movement is considered Startle-. For a movement to be considered SEM, the activation of movements for Startle+ trials must be faster than the activation of Startle- trials. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect that expertise has on sequential movements as well as determining if startle can distinguish when the consolidation of actions, known as chunking, has occurred. We hypothesized that SEM could distinguish words that were solidified or chunked. Specifically, SEM would be present when expert typists were asked to type a common word but not during uncommon letter combinations. The results from this study indicated that the only word that was susceptible to SEM, where Startle+ trials were initiated faster than Startle-, was an uncommon task "HET" while the common words "AND" and "THE" were not. Additionally, the evaluation of the differences between each keystroke for common and uncommon words showed that Startle was unable to distinguish differences in motor chunking between Startle+ and Startle- trials. Explanations into why these results were observed could be related to hand dominance in expert typists. No proper research has been conducted to evaluate the susceptibility of the non-dominant hand's fingers to SEM, and the results of future studies into this as well as the results from this study can impact our understanding of sequential movements.
ContributorsMieth, Justin Richard (Author) / Honeycutt, Claire (Thesis director) / Santello, Marco (Committee member) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
Created2018-05
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Description
Previous research has shown that a loud acoustic stimulus can trigger an individual's prepared movement plan. This movement response is referred to as a startle-evoked movement (SEM). SEM has been observed in the stroke survivor population where results have shown that SEM enhances single joint movements that are usually performed

Previous research has shown that a loud acoustic stimulus can trigger an individual's prepared movement plan. This movement response is referred to as a startle-evoked movement (SEM). SEM has been observed in the stroke survivor population where results have shown that SEM enhances single joint movements that are usually performed with difficulty. While the presence of SEM in the stroke survivor population advances scientific understanding of movement capabilities following a stroke, published studies using the SEM phenomenon only examined one joint. The ability of SEM to generate multi-jointed movements is understudied and consequently limits SEM as a potential therapy tool. In order to apply SEM as a therapy tool however, the biomechanics of the arm in multi-jointed movement planning and execution must be better understood. Thus, the objective of our study was to evaluate if SEM could elicit multi-joint reaching movements that were accurate in an unrestrained, two-dimensional workspace. Data was collected from ten subjects with no previous neck, arm, or brain injury. Each subject performed a reaching task to five Targets that were equally spaced in a semi-circle to create a two-dimensional workspace. The subject reached to each Target following a sequence of two non-startling acoustic stimuli cues: "Get Ready" and "Go". A loud acoustic stimuli was randomly substituted for the "Go" cue. We hypothesized that SEM is accessible and accurate for unrestricted multi-jointed reaching tasks in a functional workspace and is therefore independent of movement direction. Our results found that SEM is possible in all five Target directions. The probability of evoking SEM and the movement kinematics (i.e. total movement time, linear deviation, average velocity) to each Target are not statistically different. Thus, we conclude that SEM is possible in a functional workspace and is not dependent on where arm stability is maximized. Moreover, coordinated preparation and storage of a multi-jointed movement is indeed possible.
ContributorsOssanna, Meilin Ryan (Author) / Honeycutt, Claire (Thesis director) / Schaefer, Sydney (Committee member) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
Created2016-12
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Description
Startle-evoked-movement (SEM), the involuntary release of a planned movement via a startling stimulus, has gained significant attention recently for its ability to probe motor planning as well as enhance movement of the upper extremity following stroke. We recently showed that hand movements are susceptible to SEM. Interestingly, only coordinated movements

Startle-evoked-movement (SEM), the involuntary release of a planned movement via a startling stimulus, has gained significant attention recently for its ability to probe motor planning as well as enhance movement of the upper extremity following stroke. We recently showed that hand movements are susceptible to SEM. Interestingly, only coordinated movements of the hand (grasp) but not individuated movements of the finger (finger abduction) were susceptible. It was suggested that this resulted from different neural mechanisms involved in each task; however it is possible this was the result of task familiarity. The objective of this study was to evaluate a more familiar individuated finger movement, typing, to determine if this task was susceptible to SEM. We hypothesized that typing movements will be susceptible to SEM in all fingers. These results indicate that individuated movements of the fingers are susceptible to SEM when the task involves a more familiar task, since the electromyogram (EMG) latency is faster in SCM+ trials compared to SCM- trials. However, the middle finger does not show a difference in terms of the keystroke voltage signal, suggesting the middle finger is less susceptible to SEM. Given that SEM is thought to be mediated by the brainstem, specifically the reticulospinal tract, this suggest that the brainstem may play a role in movements of the distal limb when those movements are very familiar, and the independence of each finger might also have a significant on the effect of SEM. Further research includes understanding SEM in fingers in the stroke population. The implications of this research can impact the way upper extremity rehabilitation is delivered.
ContributorsQuezada Valladares, Maria Jose (Author) / Honeycutt, Claire (Thesis director) / Santello, Marco (Committee member) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor, Contributor) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)
Created2016-12
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Description

Alginate microspheres have recently become increasingly popular in the realm of drug delivery for their biocompatibility, nontoxicity, inexpensiveness, among other factors. Recent strict regulations on microsphere size have drastically increased manufacturing cost and waste, even though the effect of size variance on drug delivery and subsequent performance is unclear. If

Alginate microspheres have recently become increasingly popular in the realm of drug delivery for their biocompatibility, nontoxicity, inexpensiveness, among other factors. Recent strict regulations on microsphere size have drastically increased manufacturing cost and waste, even though the effect of size variance on drug delivery and subsequent performance is unclear. If sphere size variance does not significantly affect drug release profiles, it is possible that future ordinances may loosen tolerances in manufacturing to limit waste produced and expenditures. We use a mathematical model developed by Nickel et al. [12], to theoretically predict drug delivery profiles based on sphere size, and correlate the expected release with experimental data. This model considers diffusion as the key component for drug delivery, which is defined by Fick’s Laws of Diffusion. Alginate, chosen for its simple fabrication method and biocompatibility, was formed into microspheres with a modified extrusion technique and characterized by size. Size variance was introduced in batches and delivery patterns were compared to control groups of identical size. Release patterns for brilliant blue dye, the mock drug chosen, were examined for both groups via UV spectrometry. The absorbance values were then converted to concentration value using a calibration curve done prior to experimentation. The concentration values were then converted to mass values. These values then produced curves representing the mass of the drug released over time. Although the control and experimental values were statistically significantly different, the curves were rather similar to each other. However, when compared to the predicted release pattern, the curves were not the same. Unexpected degradation caused this dissimilarity between the curves. The predictive model was then adjusted to account for degradation by changing the diffusion coefficient in the code to a reciprocal first order exponent. The similarity between the control and experimental curves can insinuate the notion that size tolerances for microsphere production can be somewhat lenient, as a batch containing fifteen beads of the same size and one with three different sizes yields similar release patterns.

ContributorsLyons, Quincy (Author) / de la Rocha, Gabriel (Co-author) / Vernon, Brent (Thesis director) / Pal, Amrita (Committee member) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor)
Created2022-05
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Description
Alginate microspheres have recently become increasingly popular in the realm of drug delivery for their biocompatibility, nontoxicity, inexpensiveness, among other factors. Recent strict regulations on microsphere size have drastically increased manufacturing cost and waste, even though the effect of size variance on drug delivery and subsequent performance is unclear.

Alginate microspheres have recently become increasingly popular in the realm of drug delivery for their biocompatibility, nontoxicity, inexpensiveness, among other factors. Recent strict regulations on microsphere size have drastically increased manufacturing cost and waste, even though the effect of size variance on drug delivery and subsequent performance is unclear. If sphere size variance does not significantly affect drug release profiles, it is possible that future ordinances may loosen tolerances in manufacturing to limit waste produced and expenditures. We use a mathematical model developed by Nickel et al. [12], to theoretically predict drug delivery profiles based on sphere size, and correlate the expected release with experimental data. This model considers diffusion as the key component for drug delivery, which is defined by Fick’s Laws of Diffusion. Alginate, chosen for its simple fabrication method and biocompatibility, was formed into microspheres with a modified extrusion technique and characterized by size. Size variance was introduced in batches and delivery patterns were compared to control groups of identical size. Release patterns for brilliant blue dye, the mock drug chosen, were examined for both groups via UV spectrometry. The absorbance values were then converted to concentration value using a calibration curve done prior to experimentation. The concentration values were then converted to mass values. These values then produced curves representing the mass of the drug released over time. Although the control and experimental values were statistically significantly different, the curves were rather similar to each other. However, when compared to the predicted release pattern, the curves were not the same. Unexpected degradation caused this dissimilarity between the curves. The predictive model was then adjusted to account for degradation by changing the diffusion coefficient in the code to a reciprocal first order exponent. The similarity between the control and experimental curves can insinuate the notion that size tolerances for microsphere production can be somewhat lenient, as a batch containing fifteen beads of the same size and one with three different sizes yields similar release patterns.
Contributorsde la Rocha, Gabriel (Author) / Lyons, Quincy (Co-author) / Vernon, Brent (Thesis director) / Pal, Amrita (Committee member) / Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor) / Harrington Bioengineering Program (Contributor)
Created2022-05