Drs. Locke and Swindle-Reilly Awarded IMR Kickstart Facility Grants

Posted: June 8, 2022

Dr. Landon Locke, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Dr. Katelyn Swindle-Reilly, Assistant Professor, BME and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering have each been awarded a $2500 Institute for Materials Research Kickstart Grant. IMR Kickstart Facility Grants provide $2,500 to assist Ohio State faculty and staff with facility user access fees to conduct innovative research connected to IMR’s Signature Areas and Strategic Themes, with the goal of obtaining external research funding.

Specific targeting of bacterial biofilm contamination of implanted devices using a novel peptide probe

Landon Locke

Utilizing this grant, Dr. Locke will study how biofilms forming on implanted medical devices is an ongoing challenge in healthcare. These biofilms can result in chronic infections that are difficult and costly to treat, and necessitate removal of the medial device. The colonizing bacteria also directly contributes to the degradation of the implanted material, in a process known as microbial induced corrosion. Early intervention correlates positively with favorable therapeutic outcomes, but the inability to detect biofilm formation on prosthetic devices limits rapid diagnosis and early treatment. To address this problem, Dr. Locke’s lab screened and identified a peptide probe, known as HN17, that robustly localizes to and accumulates within biofilms via the extracellular matrix they produce. The primary focus of this proposal is to use advanced imaging to identify the target of HN17 in the context of the biofilm structure. Successful completion of this project will not only generate valuable data for characterizing how the peptide interacts with biofilms but also will help to streamline cryoFIB-SEM capabilities at CEMAS.

Evaluation of Materials for Corneal Bioprinting

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Dr. Swindle-Reilly's research will focus on how the restoration of vision after corneal damage due to traumatic injury or disease may require a penetrating keratoplasty, which is a full thickness cornea transplant. If the damage is only to the anterior part of the cornea, a deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) can be performed. Currently, these procedures require human donor corneas, which are in short supply, particularly in socioeconomically depressed regions of the world. To address these limitations, we propose to develop a partial thickness synthetic corneal graft as the first step to reduce rejection, increase access in areas where donor eyes are scarce, and preserve human donor corneas for penetrating procedures. However, the graft must have similar optical and mechanical properties to the native cornea to support image formation and structural integrity, as well as allow suturing to the host cornea for stability, to ultimately provide the patient with long-term workable and correctable vision. In this project, we will investigate suitable biomaterials and processing techniques for this application. We specifically propose to use 3D-extrusion-bioprinting process with a modified FRESH (freeform reversible embedding of suspended hydrogels) method. Our short-term goals for this project are to evaluate two top biomaterials candidates for 3D-bioprinting. In the long-term, we will evaluate bioprinting process parameters including pressure, extrusion velocity, temperature, material viscosity, and nozzle diameter. We will measure optical and mechanical properties of these printed materials. This is a collaborative effort between Engineering, Medicine (Ophthalmology) and CDME.

Congratulations to Dr. Locke and Dr. Swindle-Reilly!