Eugenia Kumacheva's Polymers, Interfaces, and Materials Science Group

Microfluidics

1. Development of microfluidic models of thromboembolism

Our group has pioneered continuous microfluidic synthesis of polymer particles with exquisite control of their size, composition, shape and morphology (see our paper in Angew. Chem (2005) and follow up papers. Currently, we are using these particles (made from biological polymers) to study thromboembolism and thromolysis. This question is of immense importance as  the structure and properties of e.g., fibrin hydrogels and their behavior in narrow blood vessels determine the properties of blood clots that cause myocardial infarctions, strokes and pulmonary embolism. On the other hand, embolization of blood capillaries with polymer hydrogel particles can be used to reduce blood supply to tumor sites.

Representative publications

·     Li et al. Universal Behavior of Hydrogels Confined to Narrow Capillaries. Scientific Reports 5, 17017 (2015).

·     Li et al.  The Motion of a Microgel in an Axisymmetric Constriction with a Tapered Entrance. Soft Matt. 9, 10391-10403 (2013).

·     Fiddes et al. A Circular Cross-Section PDMS Microfluidics System for Replication of Cardiovascular Flow Conditions. Biomaterials 13, 3459-3464 (2010).

·     Xu et al. Generation of Monodisperse Particles Using Microfluidics: Control over Size, Shape and Composition. Angew. Chemie Intnl. Ed. 44, 724-728 (2005).

2. Microfluidic generation of bubbles for theranostic applications

Over the last decade, there has been significant progress towards the development of microbubbles as theranostics (therapeutics and diagnostics) for a wide variety of biomedical applications. The unique ability of microbubbles to respond to ultrasound makes them useful agents for contrast ultrasound imaging, molecular imaging, and targeted drug and gene delivery. The general composition of a microbubble is a gas core stabilized by a shell comprised of proteins, lipids or polymers. Our group has developed a microfluidic approach to the generation of uniformly sized, stable bubbles with a shell coated with biopolymers and if needed nanoparticles. We are currently moving toward the applications of these bubbles for the controlled delivery and release of  drugs and genes.

Representative publications

·     Park et al.  Microbubbles Loaded with Nanoparticles: a Route to Multiple Imaging Modalities. ACS Nano 4, 6579–6586 (2010).

·     Park et al.  Small, Stable, and Monodispersed Bubbles Encapsulated with Biopolymers. Macromol. Rapid. Comm. 31, 222-227 (2010).

·     Park, J. I et al. A Microfluidic Approach to Chemically Driven Assembly of Colloidal Particles at Gas-Liquid Interfaces. Angew. Chemie Intnl. Ed. 48, 5300-5304 (2009). Cover page

3.  Adsorption of Polymers in Flow

 Adsorption of polymers from solutions moving past solid or liquid surfaces controls a broad range of phenomena in science, technology, and medicine. Flow can enhance or suppress polymer adsorption, which may be favorable or not desired or unwanted. Our interests in this project are focused on the biomedical and medicinal aspects of polymer adsorption. Recently, we integrated a microfluidics with an attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectrometer to study  adsorption of polymers in flow. Currently, we are exploring applications of this platform.

Representative publications

·     Wang et al.  Microfluidic Studies of Polymer Adsorption in Flow. Lab Chip 15, 2110-2116 (2015).

·     Greener et al. Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy for On-Chip Monitoring of Solute Concentrations. Lab Chip 10, 1561-1566 (2010).