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ALGINATE-BASED TECHNOLOGIES AND BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS

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abstract
Alginate is an important biomaterial for many biomedical applications, most notably encapsulation. The key characteristics of the natural polymer are that it is bioinert and that it rapidly and gently crosslinks with non-toxic crosslinkers. Herein, I report on some of the alginate-based technologies that we developed as a way to expand and improve upon some of our current uses for this hydrogel. First, we developed a microfluidic-based encapsulator as a way to make small and highly precise microcapsules. With this device, we are able to encapsulate stem cells and other small therapeutics and deliver them to areas that were not possible in our lab previously. Next, we chemically modified alginate, with the help of the Wake Forest University Chemistry Department, to increase its pH sensitivity for oral drug delivery applications. By having alginate remain intact in the stomach but degrade in the gut, we have been able to create a targeted oral drug delivery vehicle that we have proven to be effective when encapsulating large substances such as probiotics. Lastly, we modulated alginate to mimic the native extracellular matrix of the pancreas. Through the supplementation of solubilized extracellular matrix components and softening of the alginate stiffness, we improve both the viability and functionality of pancreatic islets encapsulated within. This may be a promising approach to take as islet encapsulation breakthroughs have slowed in the past decade due to difficulties in islet viability during the isolation and transplantation process. These three unique approaches to expanding the use of alginate set the foundation for future studies and demonstrate the wide variety of applications that this simple hydrogel can be used for.
subject
Alginate
Biomaterials
Diabetes
Encapsulation
contributor
Enck, Kevin (author)
Opara, Emmanuel C (committee chair)
Skardal, Aleksander (committee member)
Farney, Alan C (committee member)
Goldstein, Aaron S (committee member)
Welker, Mark E (committee member)
date
2020-01-08T09:35:26Z (accessioned)
2021-01-07T09:30:19Z (available)
2019 (issued)
degree
Biomedical Engineering (discipline)
embargo
2021-01-07 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/95957 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
ALGINATE-BASED TECHNOLOGIES AND BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS
type
Dissertation

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