- Advisor: Javier Read de Alaniz
- Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Campus: UCSB
- BioPACIFIC MIP Research: SET 3 - Functional Biomimics
What is your research focus?
My research focuses on the application of Diels–Alder (DA) chemistry in soft-material fabrication. Photocurable 3D printing has conventionally utilized radical reactions owing to their rapid reactivity. However, radical species limit biological applications of 3D printing as they cause damage to proteins, cells, and tissues and are deactivated under the air. Our group has developed photocontrollable cyclopentadienone-norbornadiene (CPD-NBD) adducts that release cyclopentadiene (Cp), which has a strong diene character for applications in DA click chemistry. This diene readily clicks with multi-armed maleimides as cross-linkers in water, allowing light irradiation to trigger the formation of polymer networks. Herein, I am applying this DA chemistry to develop a radical-free, air-stable, and mild photo-curable 3D printing technology. With the help of the BioPACIFIC MIP facility, I can utilize various kinds of 3D printers and am currently trying to demonstrate the printability of the material. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide a convenient method to spatially control the structure of hydrogels as bioink through 3D printing to mimic complex natural tissues. Therefore, I believe my research would best align with SET 3 - Functional Biomimics. Additionally, I am interested in enabling this DA click chemistry available for multi-3D printing techniques. I have utilized DLP-type printers, and recently I started to investigate the possibility of utilizing extrusion-type printers. Making this DA chemistry available in various printing technologies will enable precise and biocompatible molding of a wider range of materials, opening up new bioapplications.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
I hope that joining the BioPACIFIC MIP Fellows will allow me to network with colleagues spread across the two campuses of UCSB and UCLA and initiate collaborations that will expand the potential of my research. In addition, I am excited about educational outreach and training opportunities such as having workshops for young students and learning Python and data science. I am especially looking forward to the intimate discussions at a SET group. Such a smaller, specialized group will enable me to collaborate with BioPACIFIC MIP researchers and receive valuable feedback. Furthermore, the career development and professional networking opportunities available at BioPACIFIC MIP can be strong tools for me to be successful in the future. Because I am still wondering whether to go into academia or industry after graduation, I believe the career guidance in the early stages of my Ph.D. program and the travel grants for conference attendance will help me prepare for my future research career.