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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Beta-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP)-based bioinks were developed to support direct-ink 3D printing-based manufacturing of macroporous scaffolds. Binding of the gelatin:β-TCP ink compositions was optimized by adding carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) to maximize the β-TCP content while maintaining printability. Post-sintering, the gelatin:β-TCP:CMC inks resulted in uniform grain size, uniform shrinkage of the printed structure, and included microporosity within the ceramic. The mechanical properties of the inks improved with increasing β-TCP content. The gelatin:β-TCP:CMC ink (25:75 gelatin:β-TCP and 3% CMC) optimized for mechanical strength was used to 3D print several architectures of macroporous scaffolds by varying the print nozzle tip diameter and pore spacing during the 3D printing process (compressive strength of 13.1 ± 2.51 MPa and elastic modulus of 696 ± 108 MPa was achieved). The sintered, macroporous β-TCP scaffolds demonstrated both high porosity and pore size but retained mechanical strength and stiffness compared to macroporous, calcium phosphate ceramic scaffolds manufactured using alternative methods. The high interconnected porosity (45–60%) and fluid conductance (between 1.04 ×10 −9 and 2.27 × 10 −9  m 4 s/kg) of the β-TCP scaffolds tested, and the ability to finely tune the architecture using 3D printing, resulted in the development of novel bioink formulations and made available a versatile manufacturing process with broad applicability in producing substrates suitablemore »for biomedical applications.« less
  3. Electrical stimulus-responsive drug delivery from conducting polymers such as polypyrrole (PPy) has been limited by lack of versatile polymerization techniques and limitations in drug-loading strategies. In the present study, we report an in-situ chemical polymerization technique for incorporation of biotin, as the doping agent, to establish electrosensitive drug release from PPy-coated substrates. Aligned electrospun polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) fibers were used as a substrate for the PPy-coating and basic fibroblast growth factor and nerve growth factor were the model growth factors demonstrated for potential applications in musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. It was observed that 18-h of continuous polymerization produced an optimal coating of PPy on the surface of the PVDF electrospun fibers with significantly increased hydrophilicity and no substantial changes observed in fiber orientation or individual fiber thickness. This PPy-PVDF system was used as the platform for loading the aforementioned growth factors, using streptavidin as the drug-complex carrier. The release profile of incorporated biotinylated growth factors exhibited electrosensitive release behavior while the PPy-PVDF complex proved stable for a period of 14 days and suitable as a stimulus responsive drug delivery depot. Critically, the growth factors retained bioactivity after release. In conclusion, the present study established a systematic methodology to prepare PPy coatedmore »systems with electrosensitive drug release capabilities which can potentially be used to encourage targeted tissue regeneration and other biomedical applications.« less
  4. Objectives/Hypothesis Novel laryngotracheal wound coverage devices are limited by complex anatomy, smooth surfaces, and dynamic pressure changes and airflow during breathing. We hypothesize that a bioinspired mucoadhesive patch mimicking how geckos climb smooth surfaces will permit sutureless wound coverage and also allow drug delivery. Study Design ex‐vivo. Methods Polycaprolactone (PCL) fibers were electrospun onto a substrate and polyethylene glycol (PEG) – acrylate flocks in varying densities were deposited to create a composite patch. Sample topography was assessed with laser profilometry, material stiffness with biaxial mechanical testing, and mucoadhesive testing determined cohesive material failure on porcine tracheal tissue. Degradation rate was measured over 21 days in vitro along with dexamethasone drug release profiles. Material handleability was evaluated via suture retention and in cadaveric larynges. Results Increased flocking density was inversely related to cohesive failure in mucoadhesive testing, with a flocking density of PCL‐PEG‐2XFLK increasing failure strength to 6880 ± 1810 Pa compared to 3028 ± 791 in PCL‐PEG‐4XFLK density and 1182 ± 262 in PCL‐PEG‐6XFLK density. The PCL‐PEG‐2XFLK specimens had a higher failure strength than PCL alone (1404 ± 545 Pa) or PCL‐PEG (2732 ± 840). Flocking progressively reduced composite stiffness from 1347 ± 15 to 763 ± 21 N/m. Degradation increased from 12% at 7 days to 16% after 10 days and 20% after 21 days. Cumulative dexamethasone release at 0.4 mg/cm2more »concentration was maintained over 21 days. Optimized PCL‐PEG‐2XFLK density flocked patches were easy to maneuver endoscopically in laryngeal evaluation. Conclusions This novel, sutureless, patch is a mucoadhesive platform suitable to laryngeal and tracheal anatomy with drug delivery capability.« less
  5. Abstract Skeletal muscle is a tissue that is directly involved in the progression and persistence of type 2 diabetes (T2D), a disease that is becoming increasingly common. Gaining better insight into the mechanisms that are affecting skeletal muscle dysfunction in the context of T2D has the potential to lead to novel treatments for a large number of patients. Through its ability to emulate skeletal muscle architecture while also incorporating aspects of disease, tissue-engineered skeletal muscle (TE-SkM) has the potential to provide a means for rapid high-throughput discovery of therapies to treat skeletal muscle dysfunction, to include that which occurs with T2D. Muscle precursor cells isolated from lean or obese male Zucker diabetic fatty rats were used to generate TE-SkM constructs. Some constructs were treated with adipogenic induction media to accentuate the presence of adipocytes that is a characteristic feature of T2D skeletal muscle. The maturity (compaction and creatine kinase activity), mechanical integrity (Young's modulus), organization (myotube orientation), and metabolic capacity (insulin-stimulated glucose uptake) were all reduced by diabetes. Treating constructs with adipogenic induction media increased the quantity of lipid within the diabetic TE-SkM constructs, and caused changes in construct compaction, cell orientation, and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in both lean andmore »diabetic samples. Collectively, the findings herein suggest that the recapitulation of structural and metabolic aspects of T2D can be accomplished by engineering skeletal muscle in vitro. Impact Statement The tissue engineering of skeletal muscle to model disease and injury has great promise to provide a tool to develop and/or improve therapeutic approaches for improved health care. A tissue-engineered skeletal muscle model of one of the most common and debilitating diseases, type 2 diabetes, has been developed in vitro as evidenced by the structural and metabolic alterations that are consistent with the disease phenotype in vivo.« less
  6. Purpose Entrepreneurial and strategic actions are crucial for wealth creation, and the business opportunity is a critical factor in this process. The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of the firm’s strategic posture in the relationship between individual alertness and opportunity identification within an existing firm. This approach contributes to entrepreneurship theory building through a multilevel study. Design/methodology/approach The quantitative research focuses on understanding the mediating role of an organization’s strategic posture in the opportunity identification process. Using a sample of 276 firms, this study tests a two-level model to explain opportunity identification. Findings The findings provide empirical evidence that a firm’s strategic posture mediates the relationship between individual alertness and opportunity identification. Furthermore, this study finds differences in the mediating role of a firm’s strategic posture through which entrepreneurs and managers affect opportunity identification. Years after the creation of startup, the entrepreneurs still exhibit entrepreneurial characteristics that affect opportunity identification. The findings provide evidence that entrepreneurs foster an internal culture and set of values that are more favorable to radical innovation, compared to managers who favor incremental and less risky projects. Practical implications The findings suggest the possibility for new theory building that can improve themore »fields of entrepreneurship and management research. Moreover, the proposed model constitutes a new approach to analyze the mediating role of an organization’s strategic posture in the opportunity identification process. Originality/value This paper provides an original approach to literature in exploring the relationship between entrepreneurial alertness and firm’s strategic posture in explaining the opportunity identification process. This work will help expand the theory building that explores differences between managers and entrepreneurs in organizations.« less
  7. Background Volumetric tissue-engineered constructs are limited in development due to the dependence on well-formed vascular networks. Scaffold pore size and the mechanical properties of the matrix dictates cell attachment, proliferation and successive tissue morphogenesis. We hypothesize scaffold pore architecture also controls stromal-vessel interactions during morphogenesis. Methods The interaction between mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) seeded on hydroxyapatite scaffolds of 450, 340, and 250 μm pores and microvascular fragments (MVFs) seeded within 20 mg/mL fibrin hydrogels that were cast into the cell-seeded scaffolds, was assessed in vitro over 21 days and compared to the fibrin hydrogels without scaffold but containing both MSCs and MVFs. mRNA sequencing was performed across all groups and a computational mechanics model was developed to validate architecture effects on predicting vascularization driven by stiffer matrix behavior at scaffold surfaces compared to the pore interior. Results Lectin staining of decalcified scaffolds showed continued vessel growth, branching and network formation at 14 days. The fibrin gel provides no resistance to spread-out capillary networks formation, with greater vessel loops within the 450 μm pores and vessels bridging across 250 μm pores. Vessel growth in the scaffolds was observed to be stimulated by hypoxia and successive angiogenic signaling. Fibrin gels showed linearmore »fold increase in VEGF expression and no change in BMP2. Within scaffolds, there was multiple fold increase in VEGF between days 7 and 14 and early multiple fold increases in BMP2 between days 3 and 7, relative to fibrin. There was evidence of yap/taz based hippo signaling and mechanotransduction in the scaffold groups. The vessel growth models determined by computational modeling matched the trends observed experimentally. Conclusion The differing nature of hypoxia signaling between scaffold systems and mechano-transduction sensing matrix mechanics were primarily responsible for differences in osteogenic cell and microvessel growth. The computational model implicated scaffold architecture in dictating branching morphology and strain in the hydrogel within pores in dictating vessel lengths.« less