Katherine Yan '21

Katherine Yan

Hometown: Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Project title: “The Effect of Cyclodextrin Polymer Coatings on Protein Adsorption to Biomaterial Surfaces – Towards Prevention of Post- Surgical Adhesions.”

Mentor: Julie Renner, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Elevator Speech: Hernia mesh implants can lead to the formation of adhesions, in which scar tissue bridges two organs that are not supposed to be connected. This is because the hydrophobic surface of the implants promotes the adsorption and denaturation of proteins, which then causes adhesions. My project seeks to examine the protein resistance of beta-cyclodextrin (a molecule with a hydrophilic exterior and hydrophobic interior) using methods such as quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation, contact angle, and ellipsometry. I will also examine the effect of complexing cyclodextrin with an antibiotic to see if there is an effect on protein resistance. 

Reflection: "So far, I have learned that research is unpredictable and is an open-ended process. It takes perseverance to obtain publishable results and to keep going even when there seem to be a lot of obstacles. Overall, it has been an enriching experience to be able to work independently on a project and to engage in experiential learning."