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26. Sonication-Induced Cross-Linking to Create Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels

Presenters Name: 
Erin McIlhinney
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Steven Caliari
Secondary Research Mentor: 
Jenna Sumey
Time of Presentation: 
2020 - 9:30am
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Grant Program Recipient: 
USOAR Program

Hydrogels are a type of biomaterial made up of networks of cross-linked polymers that are useful for replicating in-vivo tissue characteristics in an in-vitro environment. The most common process for forming hydrogels is to expose the material to light. However, this process can have concerning effects on the cells. My previous work involved cell viability studies that evaluated cells under different lights. Though most cells were viable, some did not respond as well to the light. To resolve this issue, I worked on a process for forming hydrogels using ultrasound. Different variables in the solution composition and sonication process will be tested to find the most effective method to create these hydrogels. The solution that will be used to create the hydrogels is made up of methacrylated hyaluronic acid (MeHA) is dissolved in either water, phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), or a .2M trietholamine buffer solution. Each sample is purged with nitrogen for thirty minutes to ensure formation of cavitation bubbles. The samples are sonicated using a laboratory-grade ultrasound bath for various amounts of time. The samples are then tested using rheology to test the liquid or solid properties of the material. Based on previous experiments, longer periods of sonication should result in the gelation of the material. The results of this work are necessary to work towards the use of ultrasound to create hydrogels in-vivo, which can be used for various applications in the medical field such as drug delivery or the treatment of diseased tissues and organs.