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

DBG Lab is Operational! March 15th, 2021

After 17 years of outstanding science in Cambridge, the DBG has moved to the Engineering School’s new campus in Allston. As of March 2, the lab is fully operational and has resumed experiments. Thank you to all alumni and current personnel for constantly raising the bar. Stand by for the next chapter of DBG science!

Congratulations to Dr. Megan McCain! March 10th, 2021

Our congratulations go out to DBG alumna, Dr. Megan McCain, who has recently received tenure at University of Southern California!

Farewell to Dr. Suhwan Kim! January 13th, 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Suhwan Kim, who has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Dong-A University in Basun, South Korea! Dr. Kim was an integral part of our brain team for over a year as a postdoctoral fellow. We wish him the best on this next step in his career!

Inaugural Issue — Biophysics Reviews! January 4th, 2021

Dr. Kevin Kit Parker launched Biophysics Reviews, a new peer-reviewed journal for the biophysics research community on December 14. Produced by scientific publisher AIP Publishing, the aims to expand “on the tradition of excellence set by Applied Physics Reviews (APR) by publishing high impact, cutting edge research and reviews that are valuable for both emerging and experienced researchers”.

1. KK Parker, L Longobardi, A Sulicz. “Welcome to Biophysics Reviews, a big tent for the biophysics community”. Biophysics Reviews. 14 Dec 2020; 1(1); 010401.

A Belated Farewell and Congratulations to Dr. Ardoña! October 14th, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Herdeline Ardoña, who has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the University of California Irvine Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She joined the Disease Biophysics Group as a postdoctoral fellow in 2017 and was an essential part of our research and mentoring team. Best of luck to you as you settle in and get your research group up and running!