CAREER: Methodology of Aliphatic Biodegradable Photoluminescent Polymer Development

  • Yang, Jian J. (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This Career award by the Biomaterials Program in the Division of Materials Research to the University of Texas Arlington is to design, synthesize, characterize and identify fluorescent mechanism in biodegradable photoluminescent polymers (BPLPs). Fluorescent labeling and imaging are in increasing demand for analyzing biomolecules, tracking biological processes, and visualizing diseases and therapeutic efficacy. Biodegradable polymers have been widely used in vivo biomedical implants, tissue engineering scaffolds, and orthopedic devices. However, none of the current biodegradable polymers can function as both implant materials and in vivo bioimaging probes without using exogenous imaging agents such as photobleaching organic dyes or toxic quantum dots. This project will establish a methodology to custom-design many types of BPLPs to meet the versatile needs for functional biodegradable polymers. Successful completion of this proposal is expected to significantly advance the biomaterials science and bring paradigm shifts in the use of biodegradable implant biomaterials in a broad range of biological and biomedical fields including biosensing, bioimaging, drug delivery, tissue engineering, and nanomedicine. The proposed education activities focus on establishing a team consisting of the PI, graduate students and high school teachers for high school curriculum enhancement. The PI and graduate students will train high school teachers in the PI's laboratory and they together will help to identify valuable educational tools that would enhance the existing high school curriculum. This teacher training program is expected to give high school teachers hands-on experience and provides latest scientific knowledge in biomaterials and tissue engineering.

Biomaterials are critical components of biomedical devices and products. A novel biomaterial may create new fields of studies and opportunities to tackle unmet biomedical needs. Biodegradable polymers have been intensively used in many biomedical applications such as tissue engineering, drug delivery and orthopedic devices. The PI has recently developed a unique biodegradable polymer that can emit bright fluorescence by itself without adding toxic imaging agents in detecting early cancers, tracking cancer drug delivery process and monitoring medical implant performance. This proposal will explore the fundamental sciences of this fluorescent polymer, and then establish a methodology to custom-design many different types of fluorescent biodegradable polymers. In the educational area, high school students and teachers will be trained in the PI's laboratory with cutting-edge technologies and sciences in biomaterials and tissue engineering. This research effort by teachers and students is expected to identify valuable topics that could be used later to enhance the existing high school curriculum. This collaborative effort with the largest high school in Texas, Martin High School, Arlington, is expected to generate a wide scientific impact on the high school education.

Effective start/end date9/1/129/30/16


  • National Science Foundation: $312,614.00


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