PITA Fiscal Year 2008 Projects - Nanotechnology

Synthesis, Structure, Properties and Performance Relationships of Magnetic Nanoparticle/Polymer Nanocomposites for Applications in Tissue Engineering

Principal Investigators: Michael McHenry, Michael Bockstaller

Cell tagging, thermoablative cancer therapies, magnetoelastic response and sensing applications. This project couples emerging biomedical applications of magnetic nanoparticles in RF heating and the elastic response of tissue-based ferrogels. The first application evolves from our work on cancer therapies that rely on RF heating nanoparticles to kill tumor cells. The second application extends graduate student research and relies on magnetic nanoparticles to align in chains, in the presence of a DC field, in tissue-based ferrogels to produce large anisotropic strains. The thermal and elastic response will subsequently be exploited to tune the T-dependent elastic modulus of other polymeric materials for use in biomedical applications.

In Fall 2006 MSE Capstone Design projects and a 2007 BME Capstone Design project we demonstrated RF heating of novel FeCo-based aqueous ferrofluids and tagging tissue scaffolds so that the debris from regenerative processes can be identified by its magnetic response. In NSF sponsored summer REU projects we demonstrated loading tissue scaffold gels with magnetic nanoparticles and straining them using permanent magnet assemblies. This project will seek to advance these proof in concept demonstrations to optimize tissue scaffold gels, to engineer geometries for application of magnetic fields to nanoparticle loaded tissue scaffolds and finally to demonstrate the simultaneous magnetoelastic and thermomagnetic response of tissue-based ferrogels.

The project continues synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles with appropriate magnetic properties, polymer functionalization of nanoparticles, dispersion in magnetic fluids and cell attachment. It will extend prior results to exploit DC magnetic fields as a stimulus for magnetoelastic response of tissue based ferrogels and to use RF heating of nanoparticles to change the mechanical response of ferrogels. The project will be used to introduce undergraduate students to research in this evolving field.