Students: Zachary Fiske, Youmin Park, Grace Matthews

Project: Drug Delivery Applications of Carbon Dioxide Responsive Hydrogels

Poster: Vertical (PDF) | Horizontal (PDF)

Institution: Lafayette College

Major: Electrical Engineering

Advisor: Lauren Anderson


Stimuli-responsive hydrogels are polymers that swell in the presence of water and alter their properties based on environmental conditions. Hydrogel applications utilize this ability to encapsulate and release a drug on command. In this study, we used a NIPAM-co-VI polymer to create a hydrogel that responds independently to temperature and CO2. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time CO2 as a stimulus has been explored with a NIPAM-co-VI polymer.  By sparging (bubbling gas through) hydrogels with CO2, we are able to increase the rate and final amount of drug release from a hydrogel.  This opens up new potential applications that use CO2 as a stimulus. Because CO2 is abundant and relatively harmless, it is a good choice for many applications. We are able to observe this difference most clearly with curcumin, a turmeric-based drug and bright orange dye. By measuring the difference in curcumin release between sparged and unsparged hydrogels, we may observe this property of the NIPAM-co-VI hydrogel. Future research aims to demonstrate replicability of this process.

Zachary Fiske

About Zachary Fiske

Zachary Fiske, junior, Integrated Engineering (Bioengineering) and Chinese double-major at Lafayette College. Involved in bioengineering research under the guidance of Dr. Lauren Anderson, and leads the Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientists on campus.

Grace Matthews

About Grace Matthews

Grace Matthews, sophomore Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major with a minor in Classical Civilizations minor from Philadelphia, PA. She does her research with Professor Lauren Anderson at Lafayette College, studying the drug release potential of CO2-responsive hydrogels. Outside of research, Matthews is a member of Lafayette’s SHEESH organization, which provides a welcoming community to campus’s female and non-binary identifying students. Additionally, she is currently in the process of rushing Alpha Phi Omega, a gender inclusive service fraternity.

Youmin Park

About Youmin Park

Youmin Park, sophomore chemical engineering major and biotechnology minor at Lafayette College. Involved in bioengineering research under the guidance of Dr. Anderson through the Clare Boothe Luce Foundation. Serves as an Engineering Ambassador, McKelvy Scholar, Supplemental Instruction Leader, and Department Grader on campus.