Biomedical Engineering

Smart biomaterials: applications in infectious disease and regenerative medicine

March 07, 2017

4:30 p.m.

Doherty Hall A302

Anita Shukla, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Center for Biomedical Engineering School of Engineering
Brown University


The World Health Organization recently warned of an impending “post antibiotic era” in which common infections are lethal due to rising antimicrobial resistance.  Microbes inherently evolve resistance mechanisms over time, the rates of which can be exacerbated by frequent use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials and prolonged exposure.  Compounding this issue is the lack of discovery of new antimicrobial agents.  In this talk, I will describe our recent work on developing smart materials, which effectively treat local and systemic infections before further resistance can develop.  I will discuss the development of hydrogel dressings for treatment of localized wound infections.  We have formulated highly tunable synthetic and natural polymer-based hydrogels for the encapsulation and release of antibiotics and antifungals in response to microbial infections.  These materials exhibit a range of drug release behaviors (e.g., triggered-, swelling-, and diffusion-based release) and mechanical properties, and have demonstrated promising antimicrobial efficacy. I will also discuss our efforts in treating systemic bacterial infections using novel polymer-drug conjugates, exhibiting significantly greater antimicrobial efficacy than free drug in vivo. Lastly, I will describe some of our interests in applying biomaterials design to a variety of other topics in regenerative medicine, including better understanding the impact of temporal geometric control on stem cell differentiation.

Coffee and snacks are served at 4:00 P.M. in Scott Hall BME kitchen area, where students may meet the speaker.

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