David Kaplan, Ph.D.
Stern Family Professor of Engineering Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Tufts University Medford, MA

“Silk Protein Matrices for Stabilization and Delivery of Biologics”

Silk protein polymers are unique in forming robust biomaterial structures with a useful combination of features including biocompatibility, tunable degradation, tunable  mechanics,  facile optical and electronic interfaces and many related features. These proteins are present unusual sequence chemistry, peptide domain distributions and solution behavior that can lead to solid state biomaterials with low water content with resistance to changes in pH and temperature due to the formation of extensive networks of physical crosslinks known as beta sheet crystals. These features have been exploited to address interactions between silk and bioactive and labile compounds including monoclonal antibodies,  enzymes, antibiotics and vaccines. As a result, the stabilization of such biological compounds has been characterized even in the absence of refrigeration, suggesting silk biomaterials as an important biomaterial system to utilize for both fundamental inquiry into mechanisms of stabilization as well as for translation for utility in diagnostics, distribution of therapeutic compounds and related needs. Since silk is also an FDA-approved biomaterial for some medical devices, the potential impact of such approaches are potentially important in areas where long term storage and stability of bioactive compounds without refrigeration is a need. Examples of the stabilization and characterization of labile compounds from silk biomaterials will be discussed, along with our current understanding of the mechanisms responsible.

Short Bio:

David Kaplan holds an Endowed Chair, the Stern Family Professor of Engineering, at Tufts University.  He is Professor & Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and also holds faculty appointments in the School of Medicine, the School of Dental Medicine, Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.  His research focus is on biopolymer engineering to understand structure-function relationships, with emphasis on studies related to self-assembly, biomaterials engineering and functional tissue engineering.  He has published over 500 papers and edited eight books. He directs the NIH P41 Tissue Engineering Resource Center (TERC) that involves Tufts University and Columbia University.  He serves of the editorial boards of numerous journals and is Associate Editor for the ACS journal Biomacromolecules.  He has received a number of awards for teaching, was Elected Fellow American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and received the Columbus Discovery Medal and Society for Biomaterials Clemson Award for contributions to the literature.

When: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014  4:10 PM

Where: 1005 GBSF