Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Novel Carriers Using Food Grade Polysaccharides"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2014 - DURI
Research area(s):
Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Biochemistry; Biomedical Engineering; Chemistry; Food Science; Life Science; Physics; Pharma
Project Description:
Some of the important attributes of efficient drug/nutraceutical carriers are accurate dosage, controlled release, safe to handle and minimal side effects. In this regard, carriers with stable crystalline structure are advantageous for obtaining desired delivery profiles. Synthetic polymers have been playing a central role in pharmaceutical applications for a long time. However, use of GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) materials is desirable, and biopolymers, especially polysaccharides, provide favorable choices. More recently, we demonstrated that iota-carrageenan, sulfated polysaccharide extracted from marine algae and used extensively in food and pharmaceutical applications as thickening and gelling agent, fibers have the ability to entrap drugs and nutraceuticals in the crystalline lattice. Carrageenans are GRAS materials, FDA approved and are relatively inexpensive. Depending on the source, location, and degree of sulfation, fifteen carrageenans are known as of today. Three-dimensional structure analysis reveals that iota-carrageenan has a rigid core structure and in the network there are pockets of free space that can be exploited for entrapping small molecules and stabilizing through Van der Waals, ionic as well as hydrogen bonding interactions. Such a scenario provides an elegant pathway for the design and development of cost-effective delivery systems. The focus of this project is to encapsulate drugs, nutraceuticals and vitamins using several GRAS excipients and to monitor the release profiles at various pH conditions.
Expected Student Contributions:
The DURI participant is expected to participate in making the crystalline fibers, preparation of the complexes and measuring the release profiles of embedded components. The intern will get exposed to several multidisciplinary research activities such as polysaccharide fiber preparation, fiber diffraction and control release mechanism of drugs, nutraceuticals and vitamins.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
GPA above 3.0, strong interest and commitment towards basic and applied research is required.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Janaswamy, Srinivas
Food Science

Student Supervisor

Srinivas Janaswamy
Research Assistant Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Rodolfo Pinal
Industrial and Physical Pharmacy