BME Seminar Series: Dr. Matthew Becker @ 245 Bevis Hall
Sep 28 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Speaker: Dr. Matthew Becker, Associate Dean for Research; W. Gerald Austen Endowed Chair in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering

Affiliation: University of Akron

Title: Building bone with polymers – How new materials and additive manufacturing are changing medicine



Recent synthetic advances have enabled the synthesis of polymers designed to elicit specific cellular functions and to direct cell-cell interactions.  Motivated by traumatic injuries experienced by warfighters, we are developing novel materials and devices designed to repair segmental bone defect and achieve limb salvage.  Biomimetic approaches based on polymers derivatized with adhesive receptor-binding peptides glycoproteins and tethered growth factors have been reported to enhance interactions at the biotic-synthetic interface.  Further advances in both synthetic methodology and scaffold fabrication are needed to drive these efforts forward.  This presentation will describe the use of several translationally relevant chemistries and functionalization strategies that are impacting the practice of medicine and how physicians are planning for future therapies that were not possible previously.



Matthew L. Becker is the W. Gerald Austen Endowed Chair of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering and The Associate Dean for Research in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron.  His multidisciplinary research team is focused on developing bioactive polymers for regenerative medicine and addressing unmet medical needs at the interface of chemistry, material science and medicine. He is the founder of three start-up companies.  He earned  a PhD in organic chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis as an NIH Chemistry Biology Interface Training Fellow. In 2003, Dr Becker moved to the Polymers Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology for a NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship. He joined the permanent staff as a project leader in 2005 before moving to The University of Akron in 2009.   Professor Becker was awarded the ACS Publications Macromolecules-Biomacromolecules Young Investigator Award in 2015 and is a fellow of the ACS PMSE Division and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

BME Seminar Series: Dr. Yizhou Dong @ 245 Bevis Hall
Oct 5 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Speaker: Dr. Yizhou Dong

Affiliation: The Ohio State University

Title: Development of nanomaterials for mRNA therapeutics and genome editing



Messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics have shown great promise for purpose of expressing functional proteins. However, the efficient and safe delivery of mRNA remains a key challenge for the clinical application of mRNA based therapeutics. Lipid and lipid-like nanoparticles possess the potential for mRNA delivery. Based on our previous experiences, we have designed and synthesized N1,N3,N5-tris(2-aminoethyl)benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxamide (TT). We applied an orthogonal experimental design to investigate the impacts of formulation components on delivery efficiency. TT3 LLNs, a lead material fully recovered the level of human factor IX (hFIX) to normal physiological values in FIX-knockout mice. In addition, we demonstrated that TT3 LLNs were capable of effectively delivering Cas9 mRNA and guide RNA to the mouse liver for genome editing.



Dr. Dong received his Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) in 2009 under the supervision of Professor K.-H. Lee. He was a postdoctoral fellow from 2010-2014 in Children’s Hospital Boston at Harvard Medical School and also in the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT in the laboratory of Professors Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson. He also holds B.S. in pharmaceutical sciences from Peking University, Health Science Center (2002) and M.S. in organic chemistry from Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (2005). He joined the Division of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at The Ohio State University as Assistant Professor in 2014.

BME Seminar Series: Dr. Forrest Kievit @ 245 Bevis Hall
Oct 26 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Speaker: Dr. Forrest Kievit, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Affiliation: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Title: TBA

BME Seminar Series: Dr. Frederic Heim @ 245 Bevis Hall
Nov 7 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Speaker: Dr. Frederic Heim, Professor, R&D Manager at GEPROVAS

Affiliation: Université de Haute Alsace

Title: Heart Valves from Fibers: Remaining Challenges



Over 300.000 heart valves are replaced every year in western countries and valve therapy represents today one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the world. While open chest surgery remains the gold standard to replace a faulty valve, less invasive approaches have been developed over the last decade. Actually, the rapid developments and success in percutaneous vascular stents implantation over the last 2 decades to treat vessel stenosis has made this technique attractive today even for aortic valve replacement. The principle is to implant a stented valve prosthesis by going through the vascular network of the patients. With this new technique, patients are not exposed to the risks of surgery, and transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has become highly suitable for an increasing elderly population and has become an accepted alternative technique to surgical valve replacement for over 150,000 patients worldwide. Despite minor issues related to the implantation of the device, this non-invasive technique is cost-effective and provides increased comfort to patients, relative to traditional surgical valve implantation. In a fast growing global market, where TAVI related survival rates depend highly on the initial patient’s health, one can expect that more less-critical patients could be treated successfully with TAVI in the coming years. Currently, the valve material used in TAVI is biologic tissue, such as bovine or porcine pericardium. However, once assembled inside the metallic stent and crimped at low diameter for catheter insertion, studies have shown that the biological materials may become degraded. Textile polyester (PET) could be considered as an alternative material to replace TAVI biological valve leaflets. In particular, woven textile constructions have outstanding folding and resistance properties and as a result, these materials are easy to crimp and insert, even in low profile devices. Moreover, woven materials are discontinuous, mitigating the risk of a catastrophic rupture. Rupture propagation is isolated to the single filament. Recent works showed that woven textile materials could resist up to over 200 million cycles in vitro under accelerated cyclic loading and 6 months in vivo successful implantations were reported with fabric valve prototypes implanted in juvenile sheep models. However, despite the high potential of the material, challenges remain before textile can be considered as a durable valve replacement solution.

BME Seminar Series: Dr. Rebecca Hiese @ 245 Bevis Hall
Nov 16 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Hiese, Assistant Professor

Affiliation: Virginia Commonwealth University

Title: Details coming soon

BME Seminar Series: Ge Zhang @ 245 Bevis Hall
Nov 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Speaker: Ge Zhang, Assistant Professor

Affiliation: University of Akron

Title: Details coming soon