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Jenny Robinson Named KU Research GO Award Winner

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

We are happy to announce that Assistant Professor Jenny Robinson has been notified of a new $15,000 grant through the Office of Research called the KU Research GO award. The title of her research proposal is “Imaging and Assessment of Emulsion Electrospun Fiber Diameter and Porosity for the Programmable Delivery of Estrogen Receptor Agonists.” Building off of work being done in Assistant Professor Kevin Leonard's lab, the aim of this proposal is to generate “a library of fibers with increasing fiber diameter and varying internal fiber pore architectures necessary to validate the use of SECM compared to SEM and AFM with the work from Dr. Leonard’s lab. Utilizing a library of morphologies, the standard operating procedure and resolution limits of the SECM will be determined and optimized. Fiber architecture will be tuned by altering compositional and processing parameters to achieve a range of fiber diameters with one example seen in Figure 2A. External porosity will be modulated by increasing relative humidity in the electrospinning setup (Figure 2B). Lastly, internal pore architecture will be engineered by increasing the emulsion aqueous phase volume fraction and surfactant chemistry. The library of meshes with varying fiber diameters and morphologies will provide an adequate variance in architectures to validate SECM as a non-contact, accurate liquid-phase imaging system.”

One novel aspect with this research is that current imaging techniques are not effective in water environments. Dr. Robinson explains, "Traditionally, fiber morphology imaging for analysis is conducted in a vacuum using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) or in contact probing techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM). While these techniques are adequate at providing data to ascertain the role of compositional and processing parameters on resulting fibrous mesh properties, the sample preparation, imaging conditions, and/or probe contact result in data that is inconclusive for the biological environment in which these materials will function, namely an aqueous solution of ions, proteins, and sugars. As such, a non-contact (non-damaging) liquid-phase imaging technique for the analysis of electrospun fibers for biomedical applications is necessary."











[Image Caption - Modulating fiber morphology. Increasing polymer
concentration results in larger fiber diameter (A). Increasing
relative humidity produces surface porosity (B).]

KU’s Office of Research is “dedicated to providing strategic research investment at the University of Kansas. KU investigators bring the University’s research mission to life through cutting-edge research activities, experiential opportunities for students, cross-disciplinary collaborations, dynamic entrepreneurial activities, and contribute to the health and economic vitality of the state of Kansas and the region. The KU-Research-GO aims to expand the University’s research enterprise by supporting proposal preparation for external funding opportunities with application deadlines in the near future.”

For more information about Dr. Robinson’s research, see http://therobinsonlab.com/

For more information about the Office of Research, see https://research.ku.edu/

For more information abou the Leonard Lab, see http://theleonardlab

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