Microgel-based materials for regenerative medicine applications

Date(s) - 08/30/2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Virtual via Zoom

Ashley Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Virtual via Zoom & projected in Communicore, C1-15

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Microgels are micro- or nanometer-sized colloidal hydrogels.  Like bulk hydrogels, microgels have high water content, are biocompatible, soft, and can be made stimuli-responsive. Unlike bulk hydrogels, microgels are small and range in size from 10 nm to 10 mm in diameter and exhibit properties of both colloids and polymers. Due to their small size, they respond on faster time scales than bulk hydrogels. Microgel particle/polymer duality leads to behavior that is more complex than that of traditional hard spheres. Microgels can be used in individual particles in suspension or as building blocks in assemblies wherein the material properties of individual microgels affect bulk properties of microgel-based materials, suspensions, and mixtures. Extremely sophisticated, multi-responsive systems can be built by combining different microgel building blocks, allowing for a “plug and play system” with high levels of control over design parameters. Because of their diversity, microgels can be used in a wide array of biomedical applications including sensing, material self-healing, drug encapsulation/delivery, regenerative medicine and hemostasis. In this talk, I will discuss the development of microgel-based materials for 1) treatment of bleeding and thrombotic complications; 2) augmentation of the natural wound healing process; and 3) probing cellular mechanisms in wound healing.


Biography: Dr. Brown received a B.S. from Clemson University in Biosystems Engineering in 2006 and a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech in Bioengineering in 2011. Dr. Brown performed her postdoctoral studies in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and she was an American Heart Association (AHA) Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Brown joined the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor in 2015 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2021. Her research focuses on developing novel microgel-based materials for a variety of biomedical applications including augmentation of hemostasis, enhanced wound healing, evaluation and modulation of cellular mechanotransduction and development of biosynthetic constructs for regenerative medicine. Dr. Brown’s research is supported by the NIH, NSF, and AHA. Dr. Brown is actively involved in several national societies including the American Society for Matrix Biology (ASMB), Society for Biomaterials (SFB), and Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES); she currently serves as a Council Member for ASMB, All SIG Representative for SFB, and Student Affairs Sub-Committee Co-Chair for BMES. Dr. Brown’s work has been recognized by several awards in recent years. She is an NSF CAREER Award recipient, a 2019 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator, an American Heart Association Kenneth M. Brinkhous Young Investigator Prize in Thrombosis Finalist, a Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Young Innovator, and she was awarded the Young Investigator Award from both the American Society for Matrix Biology and the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine-AM Societies in 2020.