Faculty Mentor: Paula Hammond
Direct Supervisor: Abigail M. Oelker
Home University: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Major: Chemical Engineering
My name is Adesuwa Nosakhare; I was born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and I am currently a junior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. I am a chemical engineering major and after obtaining my undergraduate degree, I plan to enroll in a graduate program in the same field. In the long run I plan to go into industry and then academia afterwards; this is as a result of my undying passion for education. I chose this order because in as much as I am very interested in education, I believe in the act of teaching from a diverse pool of knowledge backed up with experience. I would love to be a great academic mentor with more than enough experience and insight to groom the greatest and most capable leaders of future generations. This would enable me to not only make an impact in my generation but unending generations following. In my spare time I enjoy travelling and watching movies, I find these activities very therapeutic and simply pleasurable.
Micro-structured hydrogels via free-growth deposition: films and particles
Micro-structured hydrogels are of great interest for biomedical applications due to their tunable material properties. They also possess excellent control over the spatial distribution of a variety of materials including biomolecules and probes. The purpose of this project is to develop a new technique for the fabrication of hydrogel films and microstructures that is simpler and more practical than currently existing strategies. We will create layers and patterns by the systematic repetition of gel deposition onto substrates with polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) thin films having reactive acrylate groups on the topmost layer. These hydrogel layers are composed of poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDMA) and formed by “free growth” deposition, an adaptation of the layer-by-layer technique in which substrates are exposed to a series of polymer (PEGDMA and initiator) and wash solutions. This exposure enables adsorption and surface reaction followed by removal of unbound polymer from the surface. Our novel technique allows for seamless deposition of both covalently cross-linked hydrogel films and polyelectrolyte multilayers, enabling the fabrication of integrated devices for a variety of applications. This free growth deposition process is amenable to a variety of different cross-linking strategies because it is a “bottom up” as opposed to a “top down” process. In comparison to photolithography, a technique that requires an expensive laser system and limits the type of cross-linking strategies that are used, the free growth deposition is more versatile and cost effective.