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Cooling-triggered release of therapeutics for local pain management

Primary Investigators:
Leon Bellan
 
Brief Description of Project:
We are developing an approach to enable cooling-triggered release of therapeutic molecules from macroscopic polymeric implants.  When the implant is at body temperature, it stays gelled and the payload molecule (drug to be delivered) stays sequestered in the polymeric matrix.  When local cooling is applied (i.e. ice on the skin), the thermoresponsive polymer liquefies and allows the payload to be released into the surrounding area.  Initial prototyping will involve the release of model drugs such as fluorescent molecules, after which formulations containing anesthetics for local pain management will be investigated.

Desired Qualifications: 

We are looking for highly motivated undergraduate researchers who would like hands-on experience working with soft biomaterials.

In particular, prospective students should should have:
-Interest in interdisciplinary engineering and science
-Interest in hands on experimental work
-Good time management
-Experience with data analysis (ie Matlab)
-Interest in learning biomaterials patterning and drug release characterization techniques

Nature of Supervision:
Student will work directly with a graduate student and be mentored by Prof. Leon Bellan and the graduate student
 
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
(1) Week 1 - Literature survey, Lab training, Safety Training
(2) Week 1-5 – Thermoresponsive polymer drug delivery vehicle fabrication and model drug loading
(3) Week 5-10 – Cooling-triggered drug release characterization

Number of Open Slots: 2
 
Contact Information:
Name: Leon Bellan
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: Leon.Bellan@vanderbilt.edu