Former visiting researcher (University of Pavia, Italy)
PHYSICO-CHEMICAL, MORPHOLOGICAL AND MECHANICAL CHARACTERISATION OF PLGA/PGS-CINNAMOYL POLYMER BLEND ELECTROSPUN MATRIXES
Supervisors at University of Pavia (Italy): Prof. Bice Conti and Prof. Ida Genta
Supervisor at University of Erlangen-Nuremburg: Prof. Ing. Aldo R. Boccaccini
In the design of drug-loaded synthetic biodegradable vascular grafts, the structural biomaterial is chosen to ensure optimal drug release from the device , but also to mimic blood vessels’ ability to expand and recoil to their original shape in response to blood pressure . Hence, to produce synthetic biodegradable vascular grafts, biomaterials with appropriate elastic properties need to be developed. Polyglycerol sebacate (PGS) is a high-potential biodegradable, biocompatible elastomeric material , with, however, a main drawback: its synthesis is extremely energy and time consuming . Alternative synthesis of PGS can be performed combining and optimizing microwave synthesis  and UV curing , in order to obtain an elastomeric polymer within 48 hours in a reproducible way. As part of the PhD project “Tubular grafts as drug delivery systems: a platform towards local and targeted delivery in tissue regeneration” pursued at the Department of Drug Sciences of University of Pavia (Italy), this research project’s goal is to optimize the production of electrospun matrixes made of PLGA/PGS-cinnamoyl blends, induce UV-crosslinking and perform complete physico-chemical, morphometric and mechanical characterization of the scaffolds. Moreover, in vitro static and/or dynamic degradation experiments will be performed, both using conventional media (PBS pH7.4), acid media, and enzyme supplemented media, in order to better mimic physiological implant conditions and evaluate the influence of esterases on the polymer’s degradation rate.
 S. A. Stewart, J. Domínguez-Robles, R. F. Donnelly, and E. Larrañeta, “Implantable polymeric drug delivery devices: Classification, manufacture, materials, and clinical applications,” Polymers (Basel)., vol. 10, no. 12, 2018, doi: 10.3390/polym10121379.
 D. B. Camasão and D. Mantovani, “The mechanical characterization of blood vessels and their substitutes in the continuous quest for physiological-relevant performances. A critical review,” Mater. Today Bio, vol. 10, no. February, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.mtbio.2021.100106.
 L. Vogt, F. Ruther, S. Salehi, and A. R. Boccaccini, “Poly(Glycerol Sebacate) in Biomedical Applications—A Review of the Recent Literature,” Adv. Healthc. Mater., vol. 10, no. 9, 2021, doi: 10.1002/adhm.202002026.
 Y. Wang, G. A. Ameer, B. J. Sheppard, and R. Langer, “A tough biodegradable elastomer,” Nat. Biotechnol., vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 602–606, 2002, doi: 10.1038/nbt0602-602.
 H. M. Aydin, K. Salimi, Z. M. O. Rzayev, and E. Piskin, “Microwave-assisted rapid synthesis of poly(glycerol-sebacate) elastomers,” Biomater. Sci., vol. 1, pp. 503–509, 2013, doi: 10.1039/c3bm00157a.
 C. Zhu, S. R. Kustra, and C. J. Bettinger, “Photocrosslinkable biodegradable elastomers based on cinnamate- functionalized polyesters,” Acta Biomater., vol. 9, no. 7, pp. 7362–7370, 2013, doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.03.041.