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Presented by Samuel Hsiao

The human skin is a complex system made up of multiple different cell types and layer that combine to accomplish multiple functions including segregation of the body interior from the outside, shock absorption, insulation and temperature regulation, sensing, etc. Skin can be roughly divided into three layers: Epidermis, mainly used for protection; Dermis, which has a part in temperature regulation and overall structure among other functions; Hypodermis, mainly used for insulation. Of these, the Dermis provides the major portion of skin’s overall mechanical strength; this strength is derived from the extracellular structure of the Dermis, which is a matrix of Collagen and Keratin FibersThe creation of models or synthetic human skin has a wide range of uses such as simulating the effect of different conditions on human skin, wound treatment, as a medium to conduct biological research,. Modeling of human skin can be made with various substances including liquid suspension, gelatinous substance, elastomers, metals, or other materials depending on the purpose and desired properties of the model. For models that focus on the mechanical properties, agarose hydrogel seems an especially suitable material. Agarose, a major constituent of Agar along with Agaropectin, is a polysaccharide which reinforces the material’s mechanical properties. The similar roles that Collagen and Agarose plays in their respective material of origin suggests that Agarose may be a suitable basis for human skin models that wish to replicate its mechanical properties. In fact, the structural similarities have even allowed for agarose hydrogel to act as scaffold for tissue engineering. In this presentation, two chemicals are tested for their suitability as a component of Agarose hydrogel, Acrylamide and Poly(Ethylene Glycol) Diacrylate (PEGDA). Acrylamide was chosen because variants of it have been considered as a means of in vivo medicine delivery, mechanically activity, and simplicity to dye. PEGDA was chosen as it has been shown to be a feasible component for tissue scaffold hydrogels and structural properties.

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