Developing Solid-in-Solid Droplet-Based Membrane Networks

Project Title: Developing Solid-in-Solid Droplet-Based Membrane Networks

Project Duration: May 22 – July 28, 2017 (10 weeks), 40 hours per week.

Project Mentors

  • Primary Faculty Mentor (Name, Affiliation, website and Email/Phone):
    • Eric Freeman
    • College of Engineering
    • https://freemangroup.wordpress.com/
    • ecfreema@uga.edu
    • 724-630-6199
  • Secondary Faculty Mentor (Name, Affiliation, website and Email/Phone):
    • Xianqiao Wang
    • College of Engineering
    • http://xqwang.engr.uga.edu/
    • xqwang@uga.edu
    • 706-542-6251
  • Graduate Student/PostDoc mentors (Name, Affiliation and Email/Phone):
    • Elio Challita
    • Matthew Becton
      • College of Engineering
      • becton@uga.edu

 

Project Description: This project involves the creation of complex networks of droplet-interface bilayers, where cellular mimicking membranes are created at the points of contact between aqueous droplets immersed in an oil reservoir with dissolved lipids. The focus of this project is fine-tuning the printing process within a thermoplastic oil reservoir, and characterizing the mechanical properties of the solidified oil mixtures.

 

REU Student Role and Responsibility: Printing the aqueous droplets in the thermoplastic oil has improved the stability and practicality of the droplet interface bilayer networks, but the requisite triblock copolymer may interfere with healthy membrane functionality. The student will be responsible for fully characterizing the rheological properties of the thermoplastic oil at a range of polymer concentrations and temperatures, and investigating the influence of the polymer on healthy membrane formation. This will involve a blend of rheology and electrophysiology.

 

Expected Outcome for REU student: Results from this project are instrumental in advancing portable lab-on-chip droplet interface bilayer concepts, and the REU student is expected to contribute to any publications that result from this project.