Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Structure-Function Relationships in 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 ; Pharmacy
Project Description:
Polysaccharides comprise a distinct class of biopolymers produced ubiquitously among living organisms. They play significant roles in modern science and technology and bestow several advantages to mankind ranging from achieving desirable food texture to serving as tissue scaffolds. Their recognition by Toll-like receptors that are key regulators of innate immunity toward responding to invading microorganisms as well as observation of immunopharmacological activity dependence on the polysaccharide conformation accentuates the essential need of structural information for deciphering the biological behavior. Their unique properties such as renewability and biodegradability further spawn the design and development of new biomaterial products namely hydrogels and implants that have the ability to respond to specific stimuli with desired pharmacokinetics. These functional behaviors rely greatly on polysaccharides molecular organizations as well as their time dependent structural transformations. Currently there is a lack of sufficient information for correlating structural knowledge to properties and such dearth greatly mitigates developing novel polysaccharide-based functional materials. The focus of this project is delineate the structure function relationships of xanthan, a bacterial polysaccharide with extensive food, pharma and non-food applications.
Expected Student Contributions:
The DURI participant is expected to participate in the preparation of crystalline and well-oriented fibers, measuring the rheological and thermal properties. The intern will get exposed to several multidisciplinary scientific research areas such as preparation of polysaccharide fibers, fiber diffraction, solution properties through rheology and thermal properties through differential scanning calorimetry.
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

Osvaldo Campanella
Agricultural and Biological Engineering