Biomaterials Day 2014 Agenda

Faculty Presentation Abstracts

Title: Accelerated Medical Innovation

Name: Jeffrey Karp


Abstract: This talk will explore state of the art technologies that are currently being developed in theKarpLab at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, to tackle some ofthe most challenging medical problems. Namely, minimally invasive sealing of tissues andwounds,  achieving  long  term  local  drug  delivery  for  treatment  of  diseases suchas rheumatoid arthritis and brain cancer, and engineered stem cell therapy for treatment ofdiseases such as multiple sclerosis and prostate cancer. Many of the technologies developedin the Karplab harness lessons from nature for inspiration, as evolution is truly the bestproblem  solver  (creatures  used  for  inspiration  include  geckos,  spider  webs,  jellyfish,porcupine quills, snails, and spiny headed worms). Some of the technologies that will bedescribed are rapidly advancing to the clinic ( and some arealready on the market (

Title: Biopolymer Conjugates For Production of Responsive Biomaterials

Name: Kristi L. Kiick


Abstract: Macromolecular  structures  that  are  capable  of  selectively  and  efficientlyengaging cellular targets  offer important approaches for mediating biologicalevents  and  in  the  development  of  hybrid  materials.  We  have  employed  acombination of  biosynthetic  tools,  bioconjugation  strategies,  and biomimeticassembly  in  the  design  of  multiple  types  of  biopolymer-conjugate-basedmaterials. In one specific area, PEG-biopolymer conjugates have been used inthe  formation  of  hydrogels  by  covalent  click-based chemistries  that  are  selectively  degradable  underpathological conditions. Interactions of various cells with these materials can be modulated on the basis ofmechanical and chemical cues. Most recently, we have developed resilin-based hydrogels with controlledproperties  useful  for  cardiovascular  and  vocal  fold  therapies.  These  materials  can  be  designed  withmicrostructural  heterogeneity  as  well  as  into  nanoparticles  that  could  be  useful  in  a  variety  of  drugdelivery approaches.

Title: Bioplastics vs. Traditional Packaging Plastics

Name: Stephen A. Miller


Abstract:  Expanded  worldwide efforts have identified plant-based buildingblocks  for  the  synthesis  of  polymers  that  readily  degrade  in  naturalenvironments.  The Miller Research Group has developed novel methods forsynthesizing  linear  thermoplastic  polymers  from  a  variety  of  biogenicfeedstocks, including sugars, triglycerides, lignin, and C1 feedstocks obtainedfrom trees.  First, this presentation will describe our efforts toward the directpolymerization  of  C1  feedstocks  to  polyglycolic  acid  (PGA)  and  relatedmaterials.  Second, this presentation will show how vanillin, ferulic acid, andother bio-based aromatics can be used for the synthesis of thermally robustpolyesters.  These novel thermoplastics will  be discussed in the context ofreplacing traditional, fossil fuel-based plastics.  Central to commercialization isthe symbiosis between academic innovation and a recent start-up company,U.S. Bioplastics (

Title: Biomaterials and Type 1 Diabetes

Name: Clive Wasserfall


Abstract: Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease. This statement is based on decades of research in mouse and man that has revealed that the hallmark insulin deficiency in T1D is the result of an immune mediated destruction of the cells that produce insulin.  Exogenous insulin replacement is the only current treatment for this disease and is critical for survival. While the introduction of insulin turned T1D from a fatal diagnosis into a chronic managed disorder, long term complications including kidney, heart and nervous system disorders remain.In terms of the natural history of T1D there is a long prodrome period during which the autoimmune attack begins and after some variable period of time a point is reached where blood glucose is no longer maintained and the diagnosis is made based on blood glucose levels. Insulin therapy is instituted and may be adjusted overmany years, with complications managed medically or surgically as necessary. So there is opportunity to intervene at any of these periods along the course of this disease, including from the biomaterials point of view. Our own experience with biomaterials is largely with the design of a vaccine to prevent T1D using PLGA microparticles and hydrogel matrices. To that end we used as adjuvants CpG and hemoglobin:haptoglobin (Hb:Hp) complexes delivered in a hydrogel along with microparticles (MP) containing denatured insulin (25.8mg insulin/mg MP, 5mg MP/injection). Five groups of NOD females (n=10 each starting at 8 weeks of age) were treated by subcutaneous injection of; 1) empty hydrogel/empty MP, 2) soluble CpG/Hb:Hp and insulin without matrix, 3) CpG/Hb:Hp in the hydrogel along with insulin MP (3 injections two weeks apart),  4)CpG/Hb:Hp with insulin MP with additional two injections 3 weeks apart and 5) a no treatment control. Blood glucose (BG) levels were monitored once per week from10 weeks of age until study endpoint at 28 weeks of age. Diabetes was defined as BG > 250mg/dL on two consecutive days. The no treatment, empty gel/ empty MP and  soluble CpG/Hb:Hp/insulin groups all had 10-20% diabetes free survival at end point. While the 3 injection and 5 injection group with the full adjuvant and insulin matrix were at 50 and 80% diabetes free survival respectively. (p<0.0114, Kaplan Meier). In conclusion this is an example of a biomaterials approach to this disease. We deliberately designed this around material already approved for use in humans to get us closer to the clinic, but other materials are and will become available with additional research. We are actively pursuing interdiction of T1D using these approaches.

Title: Putting Nanomaterials to Work for Biomedical Research

Name: Younan Xia


Abstract: Nanomaterials are finding widespread use in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. Inthis talk, I will focus on gold nanocages, a novel class of nanomaterials with hollow interiors andporous  walls  that  can  be  prepared  in  relatively  large  quantities  using  a  remarkably  simpleprocedure based on the galvanic replacement reaction between silver nanocubes and chloroauricacid in an aqueous solution. By controlling their size and/or wall thickness, the optical scatteringand absorption peaks of gold nanocages can be easily and precisely tuned to any wavelength inthe  near-infrared  region  (for  example,  700-900  nm,  the  transparent  window of  soft  tissues)Additionally,  their  compact  sizes,  large  absorption  cross  sections  (almost  five  orders  ofmagnitude greater than thhose of conventional organic dyes), and inertness in biological systemsall make them particularly intriguing for biomedical applications. I will present some of the mostrecent  advances in  the  use  of  gold nanocages  for  a  broad range of  theranostic  applications,including their use as tracers for tracking by multi-photon luminescence, as contrast agents forphotoacoustic and mutimodal imaging, and as radioactive probes for both imaging and therapy.In  addition,  gold  nanocages  can  selectively  target  cancerous or  diseased  tissue  followed byactivation  as photothermal agents for the selective destruction of those targeted cells.  Finally,gold  nanocages  can  serve  as  drug  delivery  vehicles for  controlled  and  localized  release  inresponse to external stimuli such as NIR radiation or high-intensity focused ultrasound.

​Society for Biomaterials​

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