funding

Luyi Sun Awarded Spring 2016 Scholarship Facilitation Fund Award

By Rhonda Ward

Dr. Luyi Sun
Dr. Luyi Sun

Dr. Luyi Sun is the recipient of a Spring 2016 Scholarship Facilitation Fund Award from the Office of the Vice President. for Research for Publication in Nature Communications, a Premium Open-access Journal for Maximum Impact. The Office of the Vice President for Research provides financial support up to $2,000 to faculty across all disciplines, on a competitive basis, to promote, support, and enhance the research, scholarship and creative endeavors of faculty at UConn. The Scholarship Facilitation Fund (SFF) is designed to assist faculty in the initiation, completion, or advancement of research projects, scholarly activities, creative works, or interdisciplinary initiatives that are critical to advancing the faculty member’s scholarship and/or creative works.

Polymer Program Researchers Kelly Burke and Anson Ma Receive CT Regenerative Medicine Grant

By: Kelly A. Salzo

Kelly Burke
Kelly Burke (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

The CT Regenerative Medicine Research Fund Advisory Committee has awarded Dr. Kelly A. Burke (IMS/CBE) and Co-Investigator Anson W. K. Ma (IMS/CBE) a seed grant titled “Human intestine tissue model by 3D printing”. The grant will provide $200,000 for the research endeavor involving chemically modified silk proteins to be used for 3D printing, which will subsequently form stable hydrodels. These materials will be printed into intestine-like crypt structures and will incorporate cells from human intestine to improve understanding on how the geometry of the system alters the function of the cells. Dr. Burke is hopeful that “the data generated will not only advance our efforts in 3D printing soft materials, but will also enhance understanding of how cells interact and undergo repair processes in cultures with geometries that are more representative of the human intestine.” The applications of this research will be important to the study of intestine tissue models, which may be used to investigate disease progression and to develop therapeutics.

Anson Ma (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Anson Ma (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Dr. Kelly A. Burke received her Ph.D. in Macromolecular Science and Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 2010. In 2014, she joined UConn as an assistant professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department and is a member of the IMS Polymer Program. Her research interests include synthesis and structure-property relationships of multifunctional polymeric materials, stimuli responsive polymers and networks, natural and synthetic biomaterials, and the design and application of polymeric systems to modulate inflammation and promote healing.

Dr. Anson W. K. received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Cambridge in 2009. He joined UConn in 2011 as an assistant professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department and the IMS Polymer Program. As Principal Investigator for the Complex Fluids Laboratory, his research centers on understanding the complex flow behavior (rheology) and processing of various complex fluids including foams, emulsions, nanoparticle suspensions, and biological fluids.

Dr. Douglas Adamson and Dr. Thomas Seery Awarded NSF Grant

By Zachary Johnson

Dr. Douglas Adamson and Dr. Thomas Seery were awarded a NSF Grant of $200,000 for the project, “Unimolecular Micelles: Design, Synthesis, and Properties.” The grant was funded by the Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry Program of the Chemistry Division.

The project aims to synthesize and observe polymers that can create stable, single chain globules in solutions. Dr. Adamson says that “protein folds in such a way as to hide most of those insoluble amino acids while the leaving the water soluble ones near the surface.” The objective is to understand how artificial polymers can imitate the nanostructure forming abilities of proteins at a very fundamental level.

The formations of these accurately discrete structures are a continuous challenge for chemists. Adamson and Seery believe that the results of the project “will lead to applications such as robust artificial enzymes” and “plastic antibodies that function much like natural antibodies but avoid the need for biological source.” The morphology within these nanostructures can impact vast areas of technology such as medicines, electronics and biotechnology.

Now with the funding of NSF, Dr. Adamson and Dr. Seery are able to proceed in the process of exploring synthetic materials that may perform some of the functions of proteins. The project will also involve visits to local schools and will contribute to the training of undergraduate and graduate students.

Dr. Douglas H. Adamson received his B.S. degree at the University of Evansville, Indiana and his Ph.D. degree at University of Southern California. He joined the University of Connecticut in August 2008, becoming an Associate Professor in the Polymer Program at IMS with Chemistry as his home department. Dr. Adamson was appointed Director of the Polymer Program in July 2011.

Dr. Thomas Seery, Associate Professor of Chemistry, received his B.A. degree at Harvard University and his Ph. D. degree at University of Southern California. He joined the University of Connecticut in 1994. Dr. Seery’s research interests include studying polymer synthesis at surfaces and physical chemistry of polymers in solution.