News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Cedar Point

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Akron General


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Science and Technology




Exploradio: Wound healing polymers
A new polymer designed at the University of Akron can perform a variety of functions thanks to click chemistry
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
Polymer nano-fibers catch the light on the fingers of Dr. Darrell Reneker, Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science at the University of Akron. Reneker is working with a team of polymer chemists to develop a new generation of wound healing banadages.
Courtesy of U. of Akron
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

A multigenerational team of researchers at the University of Akron is using an old technique to produce new polymers with promising new functions.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair explores the cutting edge of wound healing.

Exploradio: Wound healing polymers

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:36)


(Click image for larger view.)

Electrospinning a medicinal Kleenex
Dr. Darrell Reneker waves his hand beneath a glowing cascade swirling from a narrow nozzle.  Light glints off coils of the nanofibers produced in his sun-drenched lab on the top floor of the University of Akron’s polymer science center.  He gathers strands of a translucent filament as it coils through the air, finer than spider silk.

Electropsinning is a process Reneker has been refining for decades.

Reneker says the technique is, "so simple and you can make fibers of all kinds of materials and with tiny quantities of materials and we can spin those into fibers just as simple as you saw me spinning this stuff.”

Although the process is not new  --  it’s been for years used to make fiber filters  -- Reneker is guiding a new use for electrospinning technology. 

He is helping the team develop what he calls, "little chemical factories in a Kleenex.”

The new polymer trio
At a spry 82, Reneker is part of a multidisciplinary team working on a new generation of wound-healing materials. He’s using electrospinning to develop self-absorbing bandages. 

The second member, Matt Becker, teaches chemistry and is head of the Center for Biomaterials in Medicine at the Austen Bioinnovation Institute in Akron.

His speciality is developing enhancements for degradable bandages that aid tissue generation.  Becker achieves this by using bio-compatible building blocks.

He says most of his polymers are amino-acid based, so your body absorbs the compounds as part of normal metabolism.

The most recent breakthrough, though, comes from the youngest member of the trio, graduate student Jukuan Zheng, who holds a vial of white granules.

Click chemistry holds the key
Jukuan’s mystery molecule allows for one-step customization of the degradable bandage through a novel process called “click chemistry.”    

Like Lego blocks snapping together Jukuan’s molecule grabs a desired compound without need of a catalyst and additional rinsing steps.

Matt Becker says the idea behind click chemistry is, "you want to attach molecules with no residuals and therefore you don’t have to purify it.”

Becker says growth factors that hasten the healing of nerves, bone, or damaged blood vessels;  or drugs, or beneficial proteins can click onto the polymer bandage with one step.

“You basically take your slide, dip in water, shake it a little bit and use it.”

Customizable bandage for any tissue type
Becker imagines the new polymer bandage customized by surgeons who rebuild blood vessels or nerves, or even a part of an Army medic’s field kit  --  one bandage treating multiple wounds.  The University of Akron and the Austen Bioinnovation partners are eager to move forward.

He says the new polymer bandage will be tested in animals within the next three months, and "we’re already talking to companies about commercialization.”

For Darrell Reneker, cross-generational scientific discovery is a life-giving passion.

He says, “It’s just fun to work with people who share the interest and get caught up in the problem whatever age they are.”

Even after 60 years of working in labs, Reneker says there’s nowhere else he’d rather be.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Support for Exploradio
provided by:








Stories with Recent Comments

FitzGerald isn't giving up, but many Stark voters are worried, wary and weary
SB5 stands for "Snow Ball 5" because voters have about a snow ball's chance of remembering what it was.

Columbus groups are trying to pass a Bill of Rights to combat fracking
Its about time we make a stand against the criminal actions of an entire Indsutry.

Crystal Ball says Ohio governor's race is done
How much is the Kasich campaign paying you to keep repeating the phrase "woman who is not his wife"? Fitzgerald was in the car with a friend who happens to be f...

Plane that crashed killing Case students is a popular training aircraft
The following is incorrect. The last few words should read "UNDER maximum gross take-off weight." “They have a normal take-off speed and all those take-off...

Exploradio: The never-ending war against superbugs
Super Federico ,we are so proud of you ,and very lucky to be among your friends . Keep it up human kind needs people like you to survive .Thanks for being so d...

Ohio's Lyme disease-carrying tick population is exploding
Interesting report. The last sentence needs some editing. It isn't a good idea to "save garments carrying ticks for analysis." The garments carrying t...

Teach for America enters third year in Ohio
For more background on TFA, check out http://reconsideringtfa.wordpress.com/

Faith leaders hold week-long prayer vigil at Ohio Statehouse
I think this is the wrong link to the audio. Its Andy Chow about cigarette taxes.

A $30 million plan to turn Cleveland's Public Square from gray to green
The current plan is for the Land Bank, RTA, and Mr. Jeremy Paris to run a bus line through the new Public Square and cutting the park in half. Save Public Squar...

Medina County residents question safety of proposed natural gas pipeline
I'm very concerned about this nexus project. I've received mail requesting my permission to allow the company to survey my property. I don't understand how thi...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University