Marozas Head Shot
Graduate Student
Chemical and Biological Engineering

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests:

I am designing materials that can be used to probe and study the response of cells to changes in the mechanical signals of their microenvironment. With a growing appreciation for the influence that viscoelasticity has on cellular processes, it is important to have tools to study how short- and long-timescale viscoelastic signals affect cellular behavior. To address this niche, I designed two hydrogel systems that present cells with short- and long-timescale viscoelastic signals. For the study of short-timescale viscoelastic signaling, I designed a hydrogel system that is capable of rapid photoinduced viscoelasticity. I utilized a photoinitiated addition fragmentation chain-transfer (AFCT) reaction to produce crosslinks that are covalently adaptable only where and when the light is exposed. The system recovers elasticity upon removal of light and can become viscoelastic again with a reproducible G” during subsequent exposures to light. Furthermore, the magnitude of G” can be modified by increasing the intensity of light and also by increasing the concentration of 8-arm PEG-thiol in the system. This system is being used to study the response of cells to very sudden changes in the viscoelastic properties of their microenvironment. For the study of long-timescale viscoelastic signaling, I designed a hydrogel system capable of tunable and persistent viscoelasticity. I incorporated dynamic covalent crosslinks into the hydrogel by exploiting the reversible reaction between boronic acids and cis-diols. By changing the concentration and stoichiometry of the reactive groups, the mechanical properties of the resulting material can be altered. This system is being used to study the response of cells to persistent viscoelastic mechanical signals.Advanced Chemistries for User-directed Manipulation of Cellular Microenvironments