Jie Zheng, Ph.D., a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor at The University of Akron (UA), recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research that will focus on the development of functional biomaterials involved in medical implants.
A grant for $340,866 is helping Zheng’s lab to develop a better data-mining method for testing and designing antifouling materials for medical implants. Fouling, or in this case biofouling, is the accumulation of unwanted organisms on almost all wet surfaces, which can cause damage to the bodies of patients with implanted medical devices. Zheng is looking to craft a material that can better prevent a person’s body from rejecting devices such as cardiac pacemakers when tiny unwanted organisms build up.
“Antifouling materials and coatings are critically important for biomedical implants because they will prevent any unwanted interactions and infections with biomolecules and thus reduce the risk of foreign body reaction in patients,” said Zheng.
Zheng has been a professor in the chemical and biomolecular engineering department for 11 years, previously working as a scientist at the National Cancer Institute. His research is driven by finding solutions for biomedical problems including Alzheimer diseases and Type 2 diabetes, and is currently funded by four active NSF grants.