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Design Principles for Cytokine-Regulating Biomaterials

Speaker: Newell Washburn, Carnegie Mellon University
Date & Time: October 28, 2008 - 11:00am
Location: WL-Aud

Design Principles for Cytokine-Regulating Biomaterials
Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Newell Washburn, Carnegie Mellon University
11:00 AM, WL-Aud

In regenerative medicine, biological or biomimetic materials are engineered to replicate the functions of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and promote tissue repair. While significant progress has been made in synthesizing materials that mimic many functions of native ECM, little is known about how materials can be designed to regulate the activities of soluble signaling proteins that direct cells in repair processes. Cytokines mediate inflammatory responses by directing cellular activities, providing signals that can provoke inflammation or lead to its resolution. Biomaterial therapeutics that locally regulate cytokine activities could form the basis of a new class of therapies for a broad range of conditions, but this function has yet to be fully engineered into materials. I will present our research on incorporating monoclonal antibodies against pro-inflammatory cytokines in polymer matrices, providing specific recognition sites in materials to neutralize mediators of inflammation at the site of repair. Our work involves methods of polymer chemistry and engineering, biophysical characterization, and molecular and cellular biology, and I will discuss the collaborative, multi-disciplinary research involved in the development of these materials. Recent results from in vivo testing indicate that these materials are capable of inhibiting inflammatory responses but that they need to be designed to minimize cytokine diffusion times in the matrix and points to design principles for a class of biomaterials capable of interacting with native repair processes. I founded a company based on this and will discuss my early experiences in the entrepreneurial process and some of the resources at CMU and in the Pittsburgh region. This work has been further extended to the development of entrepreneurship modules in a course on Polymeric Biomaterials that I teach at CMU. At the end of this talk, I will briefly discuss my activities at the intersection of education, research, and entrepreneurship.

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