The Independent Research in Science course assigns students to specialists in various domains to assist them with their research. This semester, some of the students will share their progress, findings and overall thoughts regarding their projects in this bi-weekly column. The students will have a chance to display their final analyses in the Science Symposium on April 28th, 2016.
Formulation of polymeric microcapsules using interfacial cross-linking technique
with Diana Gueorguieva
I am a graduating student in the Honours Science program and I spend five hours every week immersed in a laboratory setting, researching microcapsules under the supervision of my mentor, Mr. Nabil Khalid, at the Biopharmaceutical Department at John Abbott College.
The aim of our research project is the development of a formulation of polymeric microcapsules using a manufacturing process known as interfacial cross-linking technique. In this chemistry-related project, we prepare the microcapsules, which are spherical empty particles, ranging from 1 to 100µm. We form them by using two natural polymers, albumin and starch. We then form an oil-water emulsion with the use of organic solvents. A reaction at the interface of the oil-water phase occurs between the cross-linking agent and the various functional groups of the polymer. This forms a polymeric membrane around an aqueous droplet. Briefly, our role is to modulate the thickness and permeability of the capsule membrane by using different concentrations and properties of proteins and crosslinking agents, while the size of the microcapsule is changed by varying on the droplet size of the emulsion.
Why is this relevant? This is an interdisciplinary world: Research in the pharmaceutical world is paramount to the advance of healthcare! The goal is to allow controlled-release of a specific pharmaceutical but also drug-targeted delivery to a specific organ or tissue. Encapsulating drugs, for instance, improves patient outcome and side effects, among many other advantages! Want to learn more about this interdisciplinary field or the research? Come and see us soon at the Symposium Event in April!