Engineering and Technology

BMCE Faculty Candidate: Designing Microcapsules for Controlled Release and Implantable Biosensors

January 23, 2020 at 8:30am9:30am

Bowne Hall, 414

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Wexia Zhang, Ph.D., from Harvard University, is a candidate for a faculty position in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, part of the cluster hiring initiative in the BioInspired Institute.

Abstract: Microcapsules are spherical core-shell structured particles with the size varying between 10 µm to 200 µm. These particles have very interesting properties and great technological potential for encapsulation of a wide variety of active materials for various applications in both academic and industrial fields. In this talk, I will focus on designing microcapsules using microfluidic technology to develop controlled release systems and implantable biosensors. Using a glass capillary microfluidic device, monodisperse water-in-oil-in-water double emulsion droplets are generated with active materials encapsulated within the aqueous core. These double emulsion droplets serve as templates to fabricate microcapsules by solidifying or polymerizing oil phase to get solid shells. First, I will discuss microcapsules based controlled release systems. Through the rational design of the microcapsule shell, including the composition and structure of the shell, I demonstrate using water as the simplest trigger to effectively release the encapsulated biomolecules, such as enzymes and antibodies, without impairing their activities. Then, I will introduce developing a microcapsule-based implantable sensing platform. Microcapsules are designed to encapsulate and trap colloidal nanosensors within the core but allow free diffusion of target biomolecules, making them ideal sensing systems. Furthermore, these microcapsules can be immobilized into biocompatible hydrogels while maintaining the sensing capability of nanosensors, which can be used to develop implantable devices for biomolecular sensing. At last, I will briefly discuss my future plans with linkages to these work.

This event was published on January 17, 2020.


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