Experimental Investigation of Mechanical Properties of Nanoparticle Reinforced Hydrogel Composite (Asuri - Santa Clara Univ.)


Experimental Investigation of Mechanical Properties of Nanoparticle Reinforced Hydrogel Composite

Prof. Prashanth Asuri
Associate Professor of Bioengineering
Santa Clara University


Recent research has shown that polymer hydrogels exhibit improved properties upon the addition of nanoparticles; however, the mechanical underpinnings behind these enhancements have not been fully elucidated. Moreover, few studies have focused on developing an understanding among two or more polymer properties affected by incorporation of nanomaterials. We investigated the elastic and thermal properties of poly(acrylamide) hydrogels containing silica nanoparticles and our studies show that both nanoparticle concentration and size affect hydrogel properties, with similar trends in enhancements observed for elastic modulus and thermal diffusivity. We also observed significantly lower swellability for hydrogel nanocomposites relative to neat hydrogels, suggesting that nanoparticles can serve as pseudo crosslinkers and contribute to the extent of crosslinking in the polymer network. Furthermore, using thermoresponsive hydrogels as well as crosslinkers of various lengths, my lab has explored the role of polymer parameters on the nanoparticle-mediated enhancements of elastic modulus. Our results indicate that orthogonal strategies to enhancing elastic modulus of polymer hydrogels reduce the degree of nanoparticle-mediated enhancement of hydrogel properties. Our findings enable the understanding of the respective roles of nanoparticle and polymer properties on nanoparticle-mediated enhancement of hydrogels and thereby the development of next-generation nanocomposite materials.

Speaker Background:

Prashanth Asuri is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Santa Clara University. Prof. Asuri earned his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where his research primarily focused on engineering protein function and stability through control of its nanoscale environment. After graduation, he served as a research scientist at Solidus Biosciences, where he developed high-throughput predictive cell based assays to evaluate drug candidate toxicity and metabolism. He was also a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley, where he applied biomolecular and material approaches to understand the mechanisms and conditions that regulate neuronal differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. Prof. Asuri’s current research interests are interdisciplinary in nature, integrating tools and concepts from biomaterials engineering, nanotechnology, and cell biology. Current efforts in his lab focus on the development of in vitro platforms to assess toxic responses of human cells to chemicals and nanoparticles, as well as for cell sorting. His lab is also interested in the design and development of hydrogel composites for applications in bioengineering. Dr. Asuri also serves as the Director of the BioInnovation and Design lab which aims to partner with industry to create new biomedical solutions that transform domestic and global health. Additionally, he is the co-founder of SE3D which develops affordable desktop bioprinters for higher education and research.


Thursday, April 26, 2018


Michael’s at Shoreline
2960 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA



6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration  $30 $15
Registration $35 $20
Walk-in (not guaranteed) $40 $25

Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register below or contact:

Claudia Allison


Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Friday, April 20 for early registration discount.
5:00PM, Wednesday, April 25 for regular registration.

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Broiled salmon, lemon buerre blanc
Chicken - Breast of chicken, Picatta
Vegetarian - Mushroom crepes

You should receive confirmation of your registration; if not, please contact us again.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.