Project Report

The design of newer and more effective drugs for such diseases such as cancer has lead to the need for more advanced drug delivery mechanisms. One such area of research has been the area of microencapsulation of drugs. These drugs are encapsulated to allow them to persist in the body longer and release their drug only when they reach the targeted organ. This will reduce the overall systemic toxicity of the drug and greatly control the dose of the drug at the target organ. One such encapsulation method is the reverse phase layer-by-layer method developed by Sebastien Beyer in Dr. Trau’s laboratory by which water soluble molecules are coated in layers of polyelectrolyte compounds in an organic solvent. This allows encapsulated materials to be introduced into an aqueous phase without being dissolved. The advantage of such a method is that it could be used to deliver drugs that would otherwise dissolve in the body before reaching their target organ. Through my work this summer I was able to learn the reverse phase layer-by-layer encapsulation technique and successfully used it to encapsulate bovine serum albumin (BSA). The encapsulated material when placed in water was stable and did not dissolve, thus showing the promise of such a technique. In addition to this I learned how to encapsulate materials in agarose microbeads as well. This technique could lead to using polyelectrolytes to coat agarose microbeads containing drug molecules using a reverse phase layer by layer method for drug delivery applications. The potential link of this project with my current research work is that I am currently focused on developing thermochromic materials for environmental monitoring applications. By incorporating this technique it may be possible to encapsulate thermochromic materials by this method and use them for biological sensing and monitoring applications. These materials may also be developed for cellular metabolism studies to understand the thermal changes that occur at the cellular level. This could lead to a greater understanding of the mechanisms of toxicity of materials and diseases like cancer, diabetes and obesity.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Office of International and Integrative Activities (IIA)
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Carter Kimsey
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Jones Philip S
United States
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