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Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Kelly Seims

Spatial Organization of Peptides by 3D Printing with Peptide-Polymer Conjugates

Department: Bioengineering
Advisor: Lesley Chow

The number of people who need a transplant is over ten times the number of donors, resulting in long waiting times for patients or failure to receive a transplant. Tissue engineering offers a promising solution by utilizing biomaterial scaffolds to guide tissue regeneration. However, replicating tissues remains a significant challenge due to its complex structure and properties. Native tissue contains multiple components organized in specific arrangements to achieve functions that cannot be accomplished by a single component or homogeneous organization. My research utilizes a versatile platform to fabricate scaffolds with controllable biochemical organization by combining 3D printing techniques with a novel peptide-polymer functionalization approach. This strategy allows us to control the spatial arrangement of different bioactive peptides within a single material. My project focused on demonstrating that we can control the organization of two different peptides in one scaffold. Scaffolds were 3D printed with inks containing unmodified polymer and peptide-polymer conjugates functionalized with either a biotin or azide group. The resulting scaffolds were labeled with fluorophores presenting streptavidin or DBCO to selectively label the biotin or azide groups, respectively. This offers a visual representation of both concentration and location of the different peptides within a single construct. This transformative 3D-printing approach to spatially control biochemical cues has great potential to drive the biomaterials-field towards more sophisticated and clinically relevant scaffolds that guide functional tissue formation. By controlling the spatial arrangement of multiple peptides within a single scaffold, we can tailor scaffolds that mimic many different tissues in the body.

About Kelly Seims:
Kelly Seims is a senior at Lehigh University pursuing a B.S. in Bioengineering with a concentration in biomaterials and biomechanics. She has been working in The Chow Lab since June 2016 and plans to continue her research with Dr. Chow while pursuing a PhD in Material Science and Engineering. Kelly was selected to give a talk about her research at the 2018 Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) national conference in Phoenix, AZ. Outside of academia, Kelly is also involved in the Lehigh University Choir and is manager of Dolce, Lehigh’s women’s ensemble.