Ramya Raman
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Presentation Time: 
2015 - 3:15pm
Severe sepsis is a blood infection that affects over 750,000 people each year in the US alone, killing 28-50% (more than prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined). Symptoms result from a highly dysregulated immune response, which, if untreated, can lead to multiple organ failure and death. Currently, treatment uses wide-spectrum antibiotics, but this is hindered by the rise of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’. One potential novel treatment is a high-throughput microfluidic hemoperfusion device, which specifically removes circulating bacteria and cell wall fragments (“endotoxin”) from blood. Microfluidics offer enhanced mass transfer and control of particle trajectory, as well as very high surface-to-volume ratios. A microfluidic device with a biocompatible and bioactive surface coating could selectively bind circulating bacteria and endotoxins from blood, enabling rapid, safe treatment of bacterial sepsis. WLBU2 is an α-helical, cationic amphiphilic peptide (CAP) with 13 positively-charged arginine and 11 hydrophobic tryptophan/valine residues oriented on opposite faces of the helix. WLBU2 has high anti-microbial against a variety of pathogens, and integrates into bacterial cell membranes (Deslouches, et al. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 2007; 60: 669-672). WLBU2 retains its helical structure when bound to a surface, and immobilized WLBU2 binds bacteria and endotoxin. Biocompatible, non-fouling surfaces can be made by covalently tethering a dense brush of polyethylene oxide (PEO) polymer chains at the surface. Longer PEO tethers terminated with WLBU2 should enable increased mobility and solvent accessibility to tethered WLBU2, allowing it to bind bacterial cells/endotoxin, without compromising the biocompatibility of the coated surface.