Material Research Society (MRS) held its bi-annual meeting in Boston November 30-December 4, 2015. BUnano faculty Klapperich, Bansil, and graduate students from Dal Negro’s and Grinstaff’s labs delivered oral and poster presentations. The advances described varied from biomaterials, drug delivery, optics, nanolayers and plasmonic applications to teaching.
Catherine Klapperich, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering delivered a talk titled “Effects of Paper Materials on In Situ Nucleic Acid Amplification” where she reported the results of her group’s extensive investigation into the optimization of two different isothermal amplification schemes, helicase dependent amplification (tHDA) and loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), on PCR for four separate DNA and RNA targets.
Rama Bansil, Professors of Physics and Materials Science & Engineering delivered an invited talk titled “Engaging Non-Science Majors: Physics of Food and Cooking.” The talk discussed a new course that Prof. Bansil has developed that introduces non-science majors to the basic principles of phase transitions and the science involved in cooking.
Professor Luca Dal Negro’s (ECE, MSE) group members delivered several talks on plasmonic applications at the MRS meeting. Yu Wang’s first talk “Broadband Enhancement of Local Density of States Using Silicon-Compatible Hyperbolic Metamaterials” highlighted a promising first step towards the engineering of novel Si-compatible broadband sources for applications to on-chip optical communication, processing and sensing. His second talk, “Tunable Optical and Structural Properties of Alternative Plasmonic Materials” demonstrated the critical importance of annealing treatments to provide tunability of both optical and structural properties of nanolayers. Another student from Professor Dal Negro’s group also presented two talks. Ran Zhang’s first talk, “Plasmon-enhanced Random Lasing in Bio-compatible Networks of Cellulose Nanofibers” focused on the cost-effective and facile synthesis of plasmon-driven random lasers and their potential for the development of novel types of random cavities and plasmonic lasers for optical biosensing and detection. Zhang’s second talk, “Active Core-Shell Plasmonic Composites for Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering,” focused on his research using biochemical testing and sensing. Finally, Ren Wang’s talk “Radiative Properties of Diffractively-coupled Optical Nano-antennas with Helical Geometry” highlighted novel opportunities for the engineering of chiral sensors, filters, polarized lasers, and components for nano-scale active antennas with unprecedented beam forming and polarization capabilities.
Professor Mark Grinstaff students Iriny Ekladious and Kristie Charoen Tevis delivered oral presentations. Kristie’s talk was titled “Efficacy of Paclitaxel Impacted by Both Three Dimensional Culture and Tumor Macrostructure,” while Iriny’s presentation was titled “Synthesis and Characterization of Poly(1,2-glycerol carbonate)-graft-succinic acid-paclitaxel Conjugate Nanoparticles.” Iriny’s talk described how through engineering a polymeric nanoparticle drug delivery system their group aims to address the known deficiencies of paclitaxel, chemotherapy drug. Kristie’s talk focused on the development of multi-cellular spheroid model of a breast cancer tumor, and its subsequent use to evaluate drug treatments, including a nanoparticulate formulation. Translational Research in Biomaterials (TRB) fellows from Grinstaff lab, Benjy Cooper and Julia Wang gave poster presentations. Benjy is developing, with promising results, polymeric biomaterials to restore lubrication and compressive strength to osteoarthritic cartilage. His poster, “Improving Cartilage Biolubrication with Soluble Polyzwitterionic Networks,” was a nominee for best poster prize. Julia’s poster, “Electrosprayed Superhydrophobic Layered Composites for Tension-induced Wetting and Drug Release,” focused on drug release with mechanical triggers using a superhydrophobic composite, since triggers are present in the body physiologically or can be applied externally. Control of the release of dye, proteins, and chemotherapeutics depended on the amount of strain applied to the system. Marlena Konieczynska’s poster “A Dissolvable Hydrogel-based Dressing for Second-degree Burn Wounds” described a transparent hydrogel dressing which would address the painful problem of dressing change for second-degree burns. Finally, an undergraduate student from Grinstaff lab, Kathryn Hardin, presented a poster titled “Tribological Characterization of the Mode of Action of Multifunctional Polymer Lubricants,” which described her results on understanding the mechanism of lubrication between two surfaces of several new biopolymers.