283508 Smart Biomaterials

Sunday, October 28, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
J. Dumas, Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Smart Biomaterials

Advances in biomaterial research have greatly impacted biological research through new innovations in areas such as treatment.  However, many grand challenges still exist as the boundaries between biology, chemistry, and engineering continue to merge.  These challenges include the further improvement of biomaterial biocompatibility and the control of cell movement and differentiation in vitro and in vivo [1]. 

As a doctorate student in the chemical and biomolecular engineering department at Vanderbilt University, I developed a two-component allograft mineralized bone particle (AMBP)/polyurethane (PUR) system for the treatment of bone defects [2].  The biodegradable PUR phase, which consisted of lysine triisocyanate and polyester polyol, had tunable degradation rates and mechanical properties.  The AMBP phase, which is bound to the PUR phase, was used as a filler to enhance the mechanical properties and provide a resorbable pathway for cellular infiltration.  The adaptability of the AMBP/PUR composite system made it suitable for multiple applications including an implant or injectable platform [3].  Further, the AMBP/PUR composites served as a delivery system for biologics such as recombinant human morphogenic protein (rhBMP-2), accelerating new bone formation in critical size defects in New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits.   

As an Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) postdoctoral fellow in the biomedical engineering department at Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University, I am studying the role of proteases in cancer.  I am developing a detection device based from multiplex cathepsin zymography, which uses a gelatin substrate in a SDS-PAGE gel to quantify enzyme activity.  Cathepsin activity has shown to be upregulated in cancer tissue, and this difference is used to distinguish normal from tumor tissue [4].  Concurrently, I am utilizing hydrogel and polyurethane technology to create an in vitro bone metastasis model that will study key parameters such as protease (i.e., cathepsin) activity and cell invasion rate.     

I intend to answer the grand challenges of biomaterials in my lab as a faculty member.  My initial goals will include the fabrication of intelligent biomaterials for both treatment (e.g., tissue regeneration) and in vitro models capable of modeling disease pathology (e.g., cancer).  I am excited about forging collaborations and expanding my knowledge to accomplish the challenges that await me in the future. 


1.         Reichert, W.M., et al., 2010 Panel on the Biomaterials Grand Challenges. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 2011. 96A(2): p. 275-287.

2.         Guelcher, S.A., et al., Synthesis, mechanical properties, biocompatibility, and biodegradation of polyurethane networks from lysine polyisocyanates. Biomaterials, 2008. 29(12): p. 1762-75.

3.         Dumas, J.E., et al., Synthesis, characterization, and remodeling of weight-bearing allograft bone/polyurethane composites in the rabbit. Acta Biomater. 6(7): p. 2394-406.

4.         Chen, B. and M.O. Platt, Multiplex Zymography Captures Stage-specific Activity Profiles of Cathepsins K, L, and S in Human Breast, Lung, and Cervical Cancer. Journal of translational medicine, 2011. 9: p. 109.

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