My research focuses on developing a material that will enhance and aid skin tissue wound healing. The lab as a whole is looking into two types of hydrogels (PEA-Argenine, Maleic Chitosan; both invented by CC Chu’s Lab here at Cornell University) that will be used to reduce the rate of release of growth factors to allow the wound a slow and continuous exposure to growth factors that will aid in proliferation. I had been working on PEA-Argenine gels but have recently shifted my work to focus on Maleic Chitosan gels.

Maleic Chitosan hydrogels


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Maleic Chitosan hydrogels are made from natural polysaccharides. One of the gel’s uniqueness is that it does not need organic solvents in the process of producing the gel and thus the potential side effects are eliminated.

I have been working on determining the release kinetics of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)-incorporated gels and planning to try to include heparin, a Glycosaminoglycan with the highest negative charge density among all biological molecules, into the gels by cross-linking the molecule with the gel in the process of synthesizing the gel which is called pre-loading (as oppose to post-loading which I have already done). There has been some research done to suggest that heparin acts to regulate the growth factor release in an extended period of time. One of the challenges we faced is the highly negative charge heparin carries. Further experiments will need to be carried out to determine how we are going to cross-link this molecule.

The long term goal of the project is to be able to develop a scaffold that will help speed up the rate of wound healing. Our lab plan to carry out the experiment and test on animal models once we have established a solid construct and received convincing data through in vitro experiments with human fibroblast cells and Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVECs).


Daniel B. Pike, Shenshen Cai, Kyle R. Pomraning, Matthew A. Firpo, Robert J. Fisher, Xiao Zheng Shu, Glenn D. Prestwich, Robert A. Peattie (2006) Heparin-regulated release of growth factors invitro and agiogenic response in vivo to implanted hyaluronan hydrogels containing VEGF and bFGF, Biomaterials27, 5242-5251.

Masanori Fujita, Masayuki Ishihara, Masafumi Simizu, Kiyohaya Obara, Toshiaki Ishizuka, Yoshio Saito, Hirofumi Yura, Yuji Morimoto, Bonpei Takase, Takemi Matsui, Makoto Kikuchi, Tadaaki Maehara (2004) Vascularization in vivo caused by the controlled release of fibroblast growth factor-2 from an injectable chitosan/non-anticoagulant heparin hydrogel, Biomaterials25, 699-706