CBE/CNSI seminar: Prof. Adah Almutairi from UCSD

Friday, April 26th, 2013 at 12 noon in Elings Hall 1601

The Art of Falling Apart: Exploiting Nanomaterial Disassembly for Health Sciences

*Adah Almutairi, PhD
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Nanoengineering, Materials Science and Engineering Program, UC San Diego

Abstract: This presentation will explore our lab’s recent progress in designing nanomaterials that fall apart in response to biological or external triggers, as well as an innovative method for bringing molecules together into hydrogel scaffolds for tissue engineering.  We have developed polymeric nanoparticles that degrade to release their contents in response to low pH (to allow escape from endosomes) or to  high levels of reactive oxygen species (to localize release to areas of oxidative stress or inflammation).  Similar designs that amplify the signal to cause a cascade of self-immolative reactions allowed us to develop polymers that break down upon exposure to various forms of light, including low power near infrared, which can safely penetrate living tissue.  This talk will explore the mechanisms by which each material falls apart, as well as their applications in diagnostics and drug delivery.  Our scaffold creation method addresses the need for facile, scalable approaches to creating hydrogel scaffolds for tissue culture containing structurally and chemically distinct layers.  We take advantage of liquid phase separation by density modifiers, and have demonstrated the applicability of this method for patterned cell culture.


Bio: Adah Almutairi is the director of UCSD's Center of Excellence in Nanomedicine, a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary research collaborative team developing tools for the future of biology and medicine. Her own research group, the Laboratory for Bioresponsive Materials, creates novel smart materials for on-demand drug delivery, regeneration of damaged tissue, and safe image-based diagnosis. Her primary appointment is in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and she is an affiliate member of the departments of NanoEngineering and Radiology.  She came to UC San Diego in 2008 from UC Berkeley, where she worked with Professor Jean Fréchet to develop several nanoprobes for in vivo imaging.  Prior to that, she completed her PhD in Materials Chemistry at UC Riverside on polymers for electromechanical actuation. Prof. Almutairi has won an NIH New Innovator Award and been invited to speak at universities and conferences around the world, from Stockholm, Sweden, to Doha, Qatar, to Changchun, China.