Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Daniel Roxbury


Controlled and sequential drug delivery is a strategy to enhance the therapeutic effectiveness of drugs in a variety of biological processes and disease states. While many different drug delivery systems are developed recently, most cannot generate temporally complex delivery profiles of multiple therapeutics. These temporally complex profiles are critical for applications such as bone regeneration and cancer chemotherapy, where an orchestrated delivery of multiple drugs is required for an optimal outcome.

Here, we developed three distinct biomaterial systems that each enable on-demand controlled or sequential drug release. These systems are based on varying external stimulus such as magnetic stimulation, radiofrequency heating, and near infrared (NIR) laser irradiation.

The first system is a dual compartment hydrogel composed of an outer gelatin partition and an inner alginate ferrogel. While the outer compartment could be loaded with a recruitment factor to recruit and harbor cells, the inner compartment was capable of retaining and releasing a differentiation factor on-demand. The inner compartment was a biphasic ferrogel and stimulation was conducted using a custom magnetic stimulation set up. It was shown that delayed differentiation factor delivery can enhance mMSCs’ osteo-differentiation outcomes using 2D and 3D cell cultures.

The second system is a magnetoliposome (ML) integrated hydrogel system. In this design, different sizes of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) were used to develop two different MLs: ML-A and ML-B. Cationic and zwitterionic lipids were used to form positively charged liposomes that could electrostatically adsorb the IONPs on their surfaces and form MLs. The ratio of IONP/lipid was optimized to form stable ML-A and ML-B structures. These structures were integrated within 3D alginate hydrogels to enhance stability and provide localized drug delivery. As the different MLs could be stimulated at different frequencies, complex delivery profiles could be generated using these MLs in hydrogels. Controlled and delayed releases of a model drug (FITC-Dextran) from ML-A and ML-B in hydrogels were demonstrated.

The third system is a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) liposome complex (CLC) integrated hydrogel. Here, unique NIR absorbance properties of SWCNTs were used to achieve drug release from liposomal structures. DNA sequences were used to wrap SWCNTs to uniformly disperse them in an aqueous solution and provide negative charge on their surface. These DNA-SWCNTs were then mixed with cationic liposomes to form CLCs. Optimal SWCNT to lipid ratio to form stable CLCs were determined. CLCs were then integrated within hydrogel structures and drug release was controlled using an NIR laser (1122 nm) irradiation.

In summary, different stimuli responsive drug delivery systems were developed and characterized here. On-demand controlled and delayed delivery of drugs from these systems were demonstrated. These externally controlled drug delivery systems are specifically important for disease treatments where therapy needs to be modified according to patient’s prognosis and can lead to enhanced therapeutic outcomes.

Available for download on Sunday, May 08, 2022