Megan C. Frost
- M & M Building 304
- Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
- Affiliated Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
The research in our laboratory focuses on the development of polymeric materials that exhibit improved biocompatibility when implanted in living organisms and to use these materials to fabricate implantable sensors that function for extended time periods (i.e., longer than 24 h).
Polymeric materials are used to fabricate a wide variety of biomedical devices such as extracorporeal tubing, vascular grafts, implantable sensors, dialysis membranes, catheters and cannula. Regardless of the type of polymer used to construct such devices, they all initiate a biological response that often leads to device failure (e.g., intravascular sensors become covered with thrombi, vascular grafts become occluded from smooth muscle cell proliferation and neointimal hyperplasia, etc.).
Nitric oxide (NO) is a free radical gas that has been shown to have a wide variety of biological functions, including as a potent inhibitor of platelet adhesion and aggregation (the first steps needed for thrombus formation), as a mediator of the inflammatory response, and an inhibitor of smooth muscle cell proliferation. Polymeric materials that are able to generate physiologically relevant levels of NO for appropriate durations have been shown to greatly enhanced biocompatibility.
The goals of our research are (1) to develop NO releasing polymeric materials that could be applied to the construction of biomedical devices that exhibit enhanced biocompatibility and a concomitant improvement in device function, (2) to develop the tools that will allow further understanding of what levels of NO are needed in different applications to achieve optimal improvements in biocompatibility and device function and (3) to develop optical blood gas sensors (PO2, PCO2, pH, etc) that release NO at an appropriate level to demonstrate improved function in vivo.
- Nitric oxide releasing polymers
- Implantable sensors
- Biological response to polymeric materials