Dr. Clint P. Aichele

There will be a Chemistry Seminar at 3 p.m. Friday, March 26th via Zoom.

Dr. Clint P. Aichele will present “Biomimetic Hydrogels for Protein Delivery, Stabilization, and Immobilization.”

Aichele is an Associate Professor and Lew Ward Faculty Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University.

Abstract: Proteins are incredibly useful in medicine and industrial chemistry. Many of the most recent breakthroughs in cancer therapy are based on monoclonal antibody treatments. Yet, there are major difficulties that can act as deterrents in developments of such therapies. Sustained subcutaneous, oral or pulmonary deliveries of such therapeutics are limited by the poor stability, short half-life, and non-specific interactions between the therapeutic biomolecules (e.g. antibody) and the delivery vehicle. Similarly, usage of proteins as enzymes in processes is limited by poor stability, short half-life, and difficulties with reusability. With growing usage of proteins as pharmaceuticals and biocatalysts, and apparent shortcomings in both fields, there is a growing need to design materials that are protein compatible and can improve protein stability. The key to successfully utilizing proteins as therapeutics, biocatalysts or biosensors is to maintain their conformation and function. There is emerging evidence that biomimetic, biocompatible zwitterionic polymers can prevent non-specific interactions within proteins systems and increase protein stability. For the purpose of protein delivery, a biodegradable zwitterionic poly(carboxybetaine) based microscale hydrogel (microgel) was synthesized. The resulting microgels were characterized via FTIR, diffusion NMR, SANS, and cell culture studies. We examined a novel post-fabrication technique that resulted in effective loading of IgG in the microgels. The released antibodies (especially from the high crosslinked microgels) proved to be completely active and able to bind with antibody receptors. Furthermore, for the purpose of protein immobilization, reaction a scheme was developed and studied for covalent immobilization of the protein (α-chymotrypsin) (ChT) within the zwitterionic microscale hydrogels. This research paves the way for designing protein delivery vectors as well as fabrication of enzyme immobilized materials with extended enzyme lifetime and activity.

Bio: Dr. Clint P. Aichele is an Associate Professor and Lew Ward Faculty Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Aichele’s research is in the area of colloids and interfacial phenomena with specific applications in gas/liquid separation, emulsions, enhanced oil recovery, distillation, and flow assurance. His work specifically focuses on engineering interfaces to solve separation challenges in complex fluids. Dr. Aichele received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from OSU in 2004 and Ph.D. from Rice University in 2009. Dr. Aichele worked at ConocoPhillips as a Research Engineer for 3 years in the CO2 Capture and Avoidance group prior to joining the faculty at Oklahoma State University.