- Advisor: Andrea Carlini
- Department: Chemistry
- Campus: UCSB
- BioPACIFIC MIP Research: SET 4 - Degradation-optimized Materials
What is your research focus?
My project is to synthesize a polymeric platform that non only degrades in a controlled manner, but the process of degradation is an integral part of the functionalised biopolymer. The goal is to produce a modular platform that will be a flexible, implantable device in a surface-functionalised biopolymer lawn polymerized via ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP). Such a platform would be capable of targeted therapeutic treatment, specifically functioned towards organ rejection. Polymer degradation will be designed and monitored in three stages:
- Partial degradation via release of therapeutic cargos with responsive moieties that are selective to and cleaved by direct interaction with endogenous peroxynitrite, an extremely reactive ROS locally expressed in damaged or diseased tissue. This will produce a ratio-metric response, one cargo for every one ROS; thus treatment dosages correlate with disease intensity.
- Controlled release of therapeutic payload via layered polymerization of block-copolymer architectures. Utilizing three different monomers bearing peroxynitrite responsive moieties that are expected to exhibit different release kinetics. The kinetic rates between pyrylium, trifluoromethyl ketone, and N-amino-phenol based responsive moieties are shown to be tunable in response to peroxynitrite.
- The final stage of degradation will incorporate the polymer backbone using degradable ROMP monomers. This would involve a copolymerization with a sacrificial degradable monomer such as dioxepins. Alternatively, the polymerization of a functionalizable, heterocyclic oxazinones would produce a homopolymer with the capacity for degradation via backbone hydrolysis.
Successful development of this modular platform will enable localized delivery of therapeutics through integrated degradation, aligning with SET 4 of the BioPACIFIC MIP.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
As the first and only graduate student of the newly formed Carlini Group, I am placed in a unique position as a first year graduate student of having limited senior expertise and guidance beyond that of my PI. The research projects that I engaged with, and will continue to be with throughout my PhD, will require broad expertise in transdisciplinary fields of chemistry and biomaterials. I believe that the community of faculty and project scientists within the BioPACIFIC MIP will allow myself, and the Carlini Group as a whole, to develop the skills necessary to create structurally dynamic and stimuli responsive polymeric platforms. The expertise in synthesis, formulation, and characterization will be a holistic asset in my training and education as a PhD student.
In addition to my current involvement in Chemistry Professional Development (ChemPD), I am excited about access to additional professional development events as a BioPACIFIC MIP Fellow. To be immersed within the network of professionals that are at the cutting edge of integrated biopolymer material platforms would open avenues for collaboration with other teams in academia or industry.