An experiment to introduce pH-responsive hydrogels for controlled drug delivery

Stephanie Farrell, Jennifer Vernengo, Stephen E. Montgomery, Yang Zhang, Peter John Schwalbenberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Stimuli-responsive polymers are used in a variety of biomedical applications. For example, pH responsive hydrogels have been extensively investigated for controlled drug delivery. By responding to the pH environment in the body, which changes depending on location and metabolic state, a pH-sensitive drug dosage form is able to modulate drug delivery patterns to meet physiologic requirements and minimize side effects. This paper describes an experiment used to introduce freshmen engineering students to stimuli-responsive polymers for controlled release applications. Students produce a pH responsive hydrogel, made from polyethylene glycol grafted onto a polymethacrylic acid backbone p(MMA-EG) using free radical polymerization. These hydrogels were previously examined for oral delivery of insulin for diabetics by Nakamura et al. In our experiment, the swelling capabilities of the hydrogels in different pH environments are examined as a function of crosslink density. In future experiments, hydrogel mechanical properties and release properties, as a function of these variables, will be examined. In addition to learning about pH-responsive drug delivery, students will learn concepts of polymer chemistry, materials science, design of experiments, data analysis, and engineering design. An assessment plan will measure student mastery of learning outcomes specific to the field of biomaterials science and those set forth by ABET for undergraduate chemical engineering programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2153-5965


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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