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An Experiment to Introduce pH-responsive Hydrogels for Controlled Drug Delivery

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.163.1 - 25.163.9



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Paper Authors


Stephanie Farrell Rowan University

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Stephanie Farrell is an Associate Professor in chemical engineering at Rowan University. Prior to joining Rowan in 1998, she was an Assistant Professor in chemical engineering and Adjunct Professor in biomedical engineering at Louisiana Tech University. She received her bachelor’s, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Stevens Institute of Technology, and New Jersey Institute of Technology, respectively. Farrell’s educational interests are in laboratory development and experiential learning, particularly in the areas of biomedical and sustainable engineering.

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Jennifer Vernengo Rowan University

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Jennifer Vernengo is an Assistant Professor of chemical engineering at Rowan University. Jennifer received her Ph.D. from Drexel University in 2007. She began work as a materials scientist at Synthes Biomaterials, then joined Drexel University College of Medicine as postdoc in 2009. Vernengo’s research is in the area of injectable biomaterials for orthopedic tissue replacement and repair. She is particularly interested in developing innovative approaches to biomedical engineering education.

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Stephen E. Montgomery

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Yang Zhang Rowan University


Peter John Schwalbenberg Rowan University

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Peter Schwalbenberg is studying chemical engineering at Rowan University, specializing in materials for his bachelor of science degree (anticipated graduation date May 2013). He has been employed as a Laboratory Assistant for the processing technician of the Chemical Engineering Department at Rowan University. He has also researched polydimethyl-siloxane (PDMS) micro bubbles for the David Weitz laboratory at Harvard University and has presented his research at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) National Student Conference. Peter currently works as a Resident Assistant (RA) on campus, as well as being a full-time student.

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Proposed Abstract for the NSF Grantees Poster SessionAn Experiment to Introduce pH-responsive Hydrogels for Controlled Drug DeliveryStephanie Farrell and Jennifer VernengoDepartment of Chemical EngineeringRowan UniversityStimuli-responsive polymers are used in a variety of biomedical applications. Forexample, pH responsive hydrogels have been extensively investigated for controlled drugdelivery. By responding to the pH environment in the body, which changes depending onlocation and metabolic state, a pH-sensitive drug dosage form is able to modulate drugdelivery patterns to meet physiologic requirements and minimize side effects. This paperdescribes an experiment used to introduce freshmen engineering students to stimuli-responsive polymers for controlled release applications. Students produce a pHresponsive hydrogel using a free-radical solution polymerization. The physical andmechanical properties of the hydrogel such as swelling, density, and tensile strength aretested with and without drug loading, after exposure to different pH environments.Finally, the drug release profiles were analyzed in different pH environments. At low pH(typical stomach values of 1.2-5.0) the drug did not swell and drug was released veryslowly. At neutral pH (representative of gastric emptying), the gels swelled rapidly andreleased drug at a controlled rate. Such a system would be useful for the oral delivery ofa drug that would be damaged by the low pH environment of the stomach, such asinsulin. In addition to learning about pH-responsive drug delivery, students learnedconcepts of measurements, material properties, design of experiments, data analysis, andengineering design.

Farrell, S., & Vernengo, J., & Montgomery, S. E., & Zhang, Y., & Schwalbenberg, P. J. (2012, June), An Experiment to Introduce pH-responsive Hydrogels for Controlled Drug Delivery Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20923

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