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CPIMA SURE Student Highlight: Vivian Trang

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Vivian TrangVivian Trang joined CPIMA scientists at Stanford and IBM working to develop novel synthesis methods to control the porosity of hydrogels. She used an organocatalytic living polymerization method to make the systems. Cyclic carbonate functional macromolecules were ring-opened using an alcoholic initiator in the presence of an organic catalyst. A model reaction for the cross-linking identified the critical monomer concentration dependent reaction regimes, and enhanced kinetic control was demonstrated by introducing a co-monomer which facilitated near quantitative conversion of monomer to polymer (>96%). The hydrogels that Vivian and her colleagues developed may become cell scaffolds in future regenerative medicine therapies. Vivian is a junior at the University of California, Berkeley. Her summer work has been submitted for publication in Biomacromolecules.

Scanning electron micrograph

Figure 1. Scanning electron micrograph illustrating the variation in pore size of freeze-dried hydrogels as the starting compositions are varied by a factor of ~5