Bio-Inspired Nanotextiles

Overview


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.

RJS-system-MBadrossamay.jpg

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.

FN-nanoFabrics-LDeravi.jpg
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.
Grp_photo_Jan 2014_305W_230H

What's New

DBG Nanofibers Merge with Art by Carla Ciuffo August 23rd, 2017

The Disease Biophysics Group would like to congratulate and thank Tennessee based artist Carla Ciuffo in her efforts to integrate our nanofibers into her art exhibit “Cosmic Garden” at Tinney Contemporary, opening this Saturday.

“Tundra,” 2017, polished acrylic with floating museum back frame, 48×48 on display at Tinney Contemporary. (Photo: Photo courtesy of the gallery)

Thank you to our Summer Students! August 16th, 2017

Thank you to all the undergraduate students who spent time working in the lab over the summer. We wish you all the best this school year!

 

Jenny Wang, United States Military Academy at West Point
Daniel Gray, United States Military Academy at West Point
Nikita Pereverzin, United States Military Academy at West Point
Kathryn Dula, United States Military Academy at West Point
Daniel Drennan, Nicholls State University
Michael Ferris, James Madison University
Karla Rivera, Barry University
John Doyle, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Madeleine Dahl, Salem State University
Nikita Budnik, McGill University
Karaghen Hudson, Harvard University
Sayo Eweje, Harvard University
Michael Peters, Harvard University
Gabriela Berner, Harvard University

Welcome Dr. Ardoña! August 15th, 2017

The DBG would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Herdeline Ardoña. Herdeline recently completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University,  where she was a part of Prof. Tovar’s lab.  Welcome, Herdeline!

Welcome Dr. Liu! June 23rd, 2017

The DBG would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Qihan Liu. Qihan completed his Ph.D. in Prof. Zhigang Suo’s lab here at Harvard University, where he focused on the mechanics and physics of soft materials.  Welcome, Qihan!

Farewell Jack! June 16th, 2017

The DBG would like to wish Jack Zhou all the best as he leaves us for his next adventure – Medical School. Congratulations Jack!