Synthetic routes to new core/shell nanogels:design and application in biomaterials
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A very interesting class of nanoparticles extensively used for bio-applications is that of hydrogel particles, also called nanogels. There is an increasing interest in the design of hydrogel nanoparticles that have biofunctionality for applications in cell targeting, drug delivery, and biomedicine. The dissertation focuses on developing synthetic strategies for making diverse hydrogel nanoparticles customized to have desirable properties for various bio-applications. We have also investigated the potential of such nanoparticles as coatings for biomedical implants. Chapter 1 gives a brief introduction to hydrogel nanoparticles and the properties that make them attractive for various applications. The details of the syntheses of well defined, stable nanoparticles, commonly used in literature, are described in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 describes our synthesis of hollow sub-50 nm nanogels, which are otherwise difficult to synthesize based on the strategy discussed in Chapter 2. Chapter 4 also demonstrates how simple strategies borrowed from organic chemistry help in producing nanogels with multiple functionalities that are otherwise difficult to obtain, which also is an important advance over the synthetic methods discussed in Chapter 2. Chapter 5 describes how a general strategy based on photoaffinity labeling can yield materials with many applications ranging from optical materials, drug delivery, to biosensing. The latter part of the dissertation describes applications of various nanogels in biology especially as coatings that can control inflammation caused by biomaterials. Chapter 6 describes a method to functionalize flexible biomaterials with the nanogels, thus enabling in vivo investigations of the nanogels as potential coatings for controlling inflammation. Chapter 7 describes the biological studies performed (in collaboration with Garcia Group in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech) on various nanogels, aimed towards obtaining the most functional and efficient materials for implant applications. Chapter 8 describes application of hollow nanogels for covalently immobilizing biomolecules. This chapter also demonstrates how simple non-functional materials can be made unique and functional by means of traditional organic reactions. Finally, in order to broaden the applications of nanogel based materials.