FURI | Spring 2023

Assessment of Azide Functionalized RGD Binding in Synthetic PEG Hydrogels for Improvement of Encapsulated Cells’ Metabolic Function

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Pancreatic islet encapsulation is a prospective methodology for reversing Type I diabetes (TID) by protecting beta cells from immune-cell destruction through a synthetic non-degradable hydrogel barrier. Strain-promoted alkyne-azide cycloaddition (SPAAC) PEG hydrogels, utilizing copper-free click chemistry crosslinkers, show comparable baseline biocompatibility to thiol-maleimide PEG hydrogels. RGD, an extracellular matrix (ECM) peptide, greatly improves the metabolic activity of cells in thiol-maleimide hydrogels, however, has little effect on cells in SPAAC hydrogels when incorporated. This project aims to characterize the binding of RGD-Azide in SPAAC gels, as ECM functionality is imperative to the long-term success of an encapsulation device for TID reversal.

Student researcher

Simone Gohsman

Simone Breanna Gohsman

Biomedical engineering

Hometown: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2023