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Proteolytic Stab. and Act. of Fibronectin- Polyethylene Gylcol Conjugates

  • Date
    Mon, Mar 04

    2:00 PM — 3:15 PM

    Steinman Hall
    ST 160 - Lecture Hall

    Steinman Hall, 160 - Lecture Hall

    p: 212.650.5748


  • Event Details

    The ChE Department would like to welcome Nancy Karuri from the Illinois Institute of Technology

    Chronic or hard-to-heal wounds are the leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputation in the United States. Their treatment costs the US taxpayer billions of dollars annually. There are significant differences between chronic wounds and wounds that heal normally. Unlike normal wounds, chronic wounds have an extended inflammation response. A consequence of this elevated immune response is the degradation of fibronectin in the chronic wound bed. Fibronectin is an integral part of the provisional cellular scaffold or extracellular matrix that is involved in tissue repair. During wound healing, fibronectin levels in the wound bed are elevated. Fibronectin attracts and attaches different cells and molecules leading to tissue repair. Fragments of fibronectin degradation have been shown to stimulate inflammation leading to destructive cycle of inflammation and fibronectin degradation. Approaches to the challenge of chronic wounds that focus solely on decreasing the immune response in the chronic wound bed have had limited success in promoting normal healing. Our laboratory is focused on using a bioengineering approach to solve the problems of: (1) Fibronectin degradation and (2) The lack of a provisional extracellular matrix in the chronic wound bed. I present studies carried out in our laboratory that address the first challenge; that is, stabilizing fibronectin against proteolytic degradation without perturbing its activity. This is through the formulation of fibronectin-polyethylene glycol conjugates. The design of proteolytically stable and active fibronectin may have the therapeutic benefit of promoting biological activities that lead to normal healing in chronic wounds.

    Dr. Nancy Wangechi Karuri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (ChBE) at IIT. She received a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and her PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Chemical Engineering. She was a research associate at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology and a fellow at the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials in Rutgers University from 2005-2009. She has had a faculty appointment  in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology since 2009. Her research is focused on engineering therapeutic materials for chronic wound care that are based on an understanding of the wound environment.