BME PhD Prospectus Defense – Matt Jacobsen

12:00 pm on Tuesday, August 5, 2014
44 Cummington Mall, Room 203
Title: "Modified Silk Biomaterials as a Synthetic Matrix for Tissue Engineering Applications"

Joyce Wong, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Boston University (Chair, Co-Advisor)
Michael Smith, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Boston University (Co-Advisor)
David Kaplan, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University
Katherine Zhang, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Boston University

Silk is a natural polymer with broad utility in biomedical applications because it exhibits high tensile material properties including Young’s modulus, failure stress, extensibility, and toughness. While these properties are important to consider for biomaterial applications that require high tensile strength, for many physiologically relevant processes, including wound healing and angiogenesis, incorporation with complex surrounding tissues is also necessary in order for the proper function to be fulfilled. For this purpose, protein-level material processing methods will be applied to modify silk protein constructs to assume a functional role based on native extracellular matrix to promote improved biomaterial adhesion, situational mechanical behavior, and properties that can be tuned for varying applications including spinal cord repair. This will be accomplished through the reconstruction of silk into micro-scale fibers and gels with physically incorporated matrix proteins, such as fibronectin, in the silk structure to create protein alloys with hybrid characteristics.