Project Report

@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } I am currently pursuing my PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University in under the direction of Dr. Carl A. Batt. This past summer as a participant in the NSF EAPSI 2011 Korea program I joined the Food Nanotechnology lab (FNTL) lead by Dr. Young-Rok Kim at Kyung Hee University in South Korea. The FNTL lab specializes in nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery; which is similar to the thesis work I am doing in the U.S. at Cornell. This summer my role working in the lab was to start a project investigating the synthesis of PHB polymer granules. Polymers are large molecules composed of repeating monomer units. Polyhydroxylbutyrate (PHB) is a well-characterized biocompatible and biodegradable polyhyrdoxyalkanoate (PHA) polymer. PHB granules are candidates for drug delivery particles. PHB granules are synthesized in three steps: initiation, propagation, and termination. PHA synthase is the sole enzyme required for the biosynthesis of these PHB Granules. This summer I set-up experiments for preliminary work producing the particles and studying their formation. Dr. Kim’s lab has extensive experience working with PHA synthase and producing the enzyme. This summer we studied the affect that Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) molecules have on polymer formation. PEG is FDA approved for intravenous, oral, and dermal applications. PEG has been used in drug delivery systems as a way to mask a drug therapeutic agent or protein from a host’s immune system. Thus, the addition of PEG to the PHB granules produced would make them more feasible candidates for biological applications. Our preliminary work this summer provides evidence that PEG can be added to the surface of the particles during polymer synthesis. The addition of PEG makes the PHB granules more appealing as drug delivery agents. Our results this summer were promising, however further work is required to verify and quantify the results and we will continue to pursue this project. During my time in Korea, in addition to my research experience my overall my experience in South Korea was extremely positive. I encountered unmatched hospitality during my time, my host made my experience an easy transition and made sure I was able to be as productive as possible this summer. During my short stay I was able to form connections with the students that I worked with as well as with my host professor. I deeply appreciate the opportunity I was given this summer. Not only did learn about Korean culture, but I have extended my research network globally though the formation relationships with my host lab and students from other institutions. I plan to take advantage of these relationships in the form of continued collaborative work.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Office of International and Integrative Activities (IIA)
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Program Officer
Carter Kimsey
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Parker Stephanie
United States
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