Iowa State’s ECpE faculty highlighted in Nanoscale journal

Nanoscale's back cover, featuring ECpE's research
Nanoscale’s back cover, featuring ECpE’s research

Research led by two Iowa State University faculty members in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) recently was published in Nanoscale, a peer-reviewed journal specializing in nanoscience and nanotechnology. The publication highlighted the research on the back cover of its 44th issue.

Rana Biswas, adjunct professor, and Jaeyoun Kim, associate professor, led the research project describing how surface nanopatterned biocompatible polymer poly (L-lactic acid) exhibits a drug release rate significantly slower than that of the unpatterned flat polymer surface. The collaborative work on the project was performed by Akshit Peer, ECpE Ph.D. candidate, and Rabin Dhakal, who recently earned his Iowa State doctorate in electrical engineering and has joined the University of Pennsylvania for post-doctoral work.

“These results are very counter-intuitive, since the nanopatterned surface has larger surface area and should release faster in principle,” Biswas said. “But nanopatterning the surface makes the polymer surface hydrophobic resulting in incomplete wetting ultimately leading to slower drug release.”

According to the team, at first, it was not easy to understand the cause of the slowing down of the drug release from the nanopatterned polymer surfaces.

“We had to do a lot of problem solving to completely analyze the microfluidic behavior of the liquid in contact with the patterned surfaces,” Kim said. “Such behavior has rarely been studied before on nanoscale dimensions.”

The team is very optimistic that the results would be of value in controlling the drug release in polymer-based drug-eluting stents, commonly used in cardiac therapies. The group has already been issued a provisional patent on the subject. To read the full article, visit the Nanoscale webpage.