Benchtop Characterization of Fetal Membrane Sealants

Summer 2016

Sarah Bhattacharjee : Bioengineering

Mentor: Phillip Messersmith

The field of fetal surgery, though it remains the best hope for expecting parents whose child might have dangerous complications, is impeded by the amniotic sac's inability to heal following rupture. The Messersmith Group, in which I work, has proposed both a sealant, which draws inspiration from the chemical properties of the adhesive secreted by mussels to attach themselves to their surroundings in the underwater environment, as well as "presealing," an innovative manner of delivering the sealant to the surgical area. This summer I shall be developing a benchtop method of fetal surgery presealing in order to accurately characterize candidate adhesives in a manner that reflects the failure mechanisms that would occur during surgery. Specifically, I will test this protocol on a selection of tissue samples to determine the tissue type and testing conditions that best replicate the the properties of the amniotic membranes.

This award has given me the chance to focus on my research and partake in a project that will hopefully go on to make a positive difference in the lives of many families. To both the Rose Hills Foundation and SURF, I would like to express my gratitude for providing me with this phenomenal opportunity. I shall use this summer to its full extent to challenge myself to work harder than ever and grow as a researcher.