Microfluidic Devices for Intraocular Drug Delivery

Project TitleMicrofluidic devices for intraocular drug delivery

Project Duration: May 23 – July 29, 2016 (10 weeks), 40 hours/week

Project Mentors:

Primary Mentor

Hitesh Handa, Ph.D.

College of Engineering

University of Georgia
Phone: 706-542-8109

Email: hhanda@uga.edu



Secondary Mentor

Ramana Pidaparti

College of Engineering

University of Georgia

Telephone: 706-542-4057

E-mail: rmparti@uga.edu


Graduate Student/PostDoc mentors (Name, Affiliation and Email/Phone):

Marcus Goudie, M.S.

PhD Student, College of Engineering

Email: marcus.goudie25@uga.edu



Project Description:

Various ocular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa require lifelong treatment through daily eye drops or monthly injections into the eye to avoid blindness. Ocular diseases are prevalent throughout society especially affecting adults over the age of 50. An estimated 1.6 million adults suffer from age-related macular degeneration in the U.S. alone, with approximately 500,000 cases diagnosed annually worldwide. Treatment of these ocular diseases is typically done through monthly ocular injections, costing time and money in doctor visits. In addition, the repeated ocular injections run the risks of intraocular infections, hemorrhages, and retinal detachment. While daily eye drops are an alternative to injections, only 5% of the administered drug may reach the anterior intraocular tissues through the cornea. Orally delivered medications may be most convenient for the patient, but come with serious systemic side effects due to the high dosages. These high dosages are required for therapeutic levels to be reached in the eye through the blood-retina barrier. Developing an implantable drug delivery device would provide controlled delivery and effective use of drugs, while required doctor visits and complications from frequent injections. The controlled delivery of drugs will maximize efficiency and allow the patient to experience improvements to their eyesight.


REU student role and responsibility:

The student will work under the supervision of the graduate student in Dr. Handa’s lab:

  • To design and fabricate microfluidic devices using soft lithography
  • To test devices in vitro for drug delivery rate
  • Compare experimental results to simple models of mass transport


Expected outcome for REU student:

The student will receive training on how to conduct research in an academic environment, including designing, fabricating, and testing microfluidic devices for drug delivery. Upon successful implementation of this project, the student’s contribution on this project is expected to be submitted for a journal publication.