Carnegie Mellon University

Zoe Wright at conference

June 08, 2018

Zoe Wright Wins Best Presentation Award at Annual ACS Meeting

By Ben Panko

Chemistry Ph.D. candidate Zoe Wright received the Best Presentation Award at the International Symposium on Biorelated Polymers: Innovation in Biomedical Polymers during the 255th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition. Wright was picked by a panel of judges for her presentation titled "Hydrolysis-Driven Drug Delivery and Tunable Adhesive Properties: Bioactive Medical Adhesives." The prize, sponsored by Polymer International, comes with a book credit from Wiley.

Wright works in a research group at Carnegie Mellon University run by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Stefanie Sydlik. "My research focuses on synthesizing new methacrylate-based monomers to act as additives to existing medical adhesives," Wright said. These new monomers contain small-molecule therapeutic drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or agents that can stimulate bone healing. These substances are bonded to the adhesives, and by changing the type of that bond, Wright is able to control how quickly the therapeutics are released from the adhesives, whether over the course of a few hours or even a few months as a bone slowly heals.

"Based on the type of drug we select for the adhesive and the release profile we choose via the covalent tether, we can design adhesives to actively guide wound healing," Wright said.

These monomers also can be "tuned" to have the same physical properties as the adhesive they're added to, Wright said, whether soft like skin or rigid like bone. "We hope that this tunability, combined with their bio-instructive, therapeutic potential, could make my adhesives an effective replacement for 'medical hardware' like stitches, staples and metallic bone screws."