Bio-Inspired Nanotextiles


A new technique of nanofiber fabrication using the rotary jet spinning for regenerative medicine and other industrial applications

Primary Investigator: Mohammad R. Badrossamay, Ph.D

We have developed an effective technique for the generation of continuous fibers and non-woven fabrics with nanometer size fiber diameters by using high-speed mechanical rotation of polymeric solutions through a perforated rotary reservoir. Termed, Rotary jet-spinning (RJS), has several advantages in comparison with other nanofiber fabrication methods: (a) the technique does not require high-voltage electric fields, (b) the apparatus is simple to implement, (c) nanofiber structures can be fabricated into an aligned 3D structure or any arbitrary shape by varying the collector geometry, (d) fiber morphology (beaded, textured, or smooth), fiber diameters, and web porosity can be manipulated by altering the process variables, (e) fiber fabrication is independent of solution conductivity, (f) RJS is easily applicable to polymer emulsions and suspensions, and (g) RJS is capable of substantially higher production rates as compared to standard electrospinning.


FIGURE: Schematic of rotary jet-spinning (RJS) system
A: Rotary jet spinning is capable of forming 3D structures with any arbitrary shape.
B: Scanning electron micrographs of smooth nanofibers (C), decorated (D) and textured (E).

A mathematical model of rotary jet spinning to predict fiber diameter under different processing conditions

Primary Investigator: Holly McIlwee

Currently we are studying the formation of nanofibers being produced in our lab via Rotary Jet Spinning from a physical point of view. Using the tools of fluidynamics, we have computed scaling laws that permit us to decrease the diameter and at the same time ensure the continuity of nanofibers, in terms of a few set of tunable laboratory parameters. These scaling laws can be easily translated into phase diagrams for obtaining fibers of desirable characteristics, when design and solution parameters fall into a well defined range.

McIlwee_Fiber_Formation.jpg McIlwee_DBG_Nanofiber_Formation.gif

FIGURE: Three stages of fiber formation in Rotary Jet-Spinning.
A: Jet initiation
B: Jet elongation
C: Solvent evaporation
D: Movie shows nanofiber formation by Rotary Jet-Spinning (RJS) captured by high speed camera

Manufacturing protein nanoFabrics using extracellular matrix proteins for applications ranging from biophotonic devices to neuronal tissue engineering

Primary Investigator: Leila Deravi, Ph.D

We have developed a technique for manufacturing bio-inspired nanoFabrics using the model protein Fibronectin (FN). FN nanoFabrics are synthesized using micro-contact printing onto thermosensitive, polymer substrates. At low temperatures (T< 32ºC), the polymer substrate dissolves, and our pre-patterned protein pops off the substrate as free-standing fibrillar networks, or nanoFabrics. When relaxed FN nanoFabrics are mechanically strained, they exhibit a 6-fold extension without failure, likely due to protein extension under strain. By identifying how mechanical strain affects protein conformation within fabrics, we can begin to design a new range of hyper-elastic textiles with similar chemical properties.

FIGURE: Manufacturing FN nanoFabrics.
A: We built FN networks in the form of nanometer thick fabrics by releasing micropatterned FN from a thermosensitive substrate. Scale bar 20 µm.
B: Atomic force micrograph of FN nanoFabrics after release demonstrates nanoscale thickness.
C: Scanning electron micrograph of FN nanoFabrics after release demonstrates millimeter scale dimensions. Scale bar 50 µm.

What's New

Farewell Charles Alver! August 13th, 2018

The DBG would like to thank Charles Alver for his time in the group and to wish him the best of luck in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Miami!

Thank you to our 2018 summer students! August 13th, 2018

Thank you the undergraduate students who visited our lab this summer. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!


Sydney Reed, Mississippi State University
Karla Rivera, Barry University
John Doyle, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Chris Grouard, Bunker Hill Community College
Jesse Palmer, United States Military Academy at West Point
Sayo Eweje, Harvard University
Michael Peters, Harvard University

The DBG welcomes visiting faculty July 27th, 2018

The Disease Biophysics Groups welcomes visiting falculty Professor Renita Horton from Mississippi State University, Professor Kwanwoo Shin from Sogang University, and Colonel John Burpo, the chair of the Chemistry Department at West Point. The Disease Biophysics Group would also like to thank the faculty members for working with our researchers during their visit.

Welcome Summer REU Students and West Point Cadets! July 27th, 2018

The Disease Biophysics Group would like welcome our 2018 summer REU students and West Point Cadets for the summer. Good luck on your research projects!

The Disease Biophysics Group welcomes new Staff member July 27th, 2018

The Disease Biophysics Group would like to welcome our newest staff scientist, Daniel Drennan, to the group!