Dr. Elda Hegmann: "The Use of Liquid Crystals for Biological Applications"

The focus of our research group is the use of liquid crystals for biological applications.

The main areas are:
a) liquid crystals that are able to mimic biological materials and,
b) biosensors for optical imaging and diagnostics.

Our group has successfully synthesized smectic-A liquid crystal elastomers that promote superior, stimuli-responsive surface properties for cell attachment. These scaffold materials also offer enhanced cell attachment and viability (i.e. expansion and proliferation) of cells while increasing their biomechanical functionality. The materials created in our lab will include materials with predictable and controllable/tunable properties for the use of drug delivery systems and therapeutic purposes.  Another research area will be the imaging of biological cells and their behavior on modified substrates and scaffolds.

Students in our research group will study the effects of liquid crystals on polymers due to their response to external stimuli and how does that affect the growth (and in some cases, differentiation) of cells.  Or group is very multidisciplinary. Students from Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Engineering and other related disciplines are welcome.

Selected Publications

4. T. Bera, E.J. Freeman, J.A. McDonough, R.J. Clements, A. Aladlaan, D.W. Miller, C. Malcuit, T. Hegmann, and E. Hegmann, “Artificial muscles as cell scaffolds: nematic liquid crystal elastomers supporting the attachment and proliferation of myoblasts” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2015, 7, 14528-14535.

3. B. Tian, W.Y. Wong, E. Hegmann, K. Gaspar, P. Kumar, and H. Chao, “Production and Characterization of a Camelid Single Domain Antibody–Urease Enzyme Conjugate for the Treatment of Cancer”, Bioconjugate Chem. 2015, 26, 1144-1155.

2. A. Sharma, A. Neshat, C. J. Mahnen, A. d. Nielsen, J. Snyder, T. L. Stankovich, B. G. Daum, E. M. LaSpina, G. Beltrano, S. Li, B.-W. Park, R. J. Clements, E. J. Freeman, C. Malcuit, J. A. McDonough, L. T. J. Korley, T. Hegmann, E. Hegmann, “Biocompatible, biodegradable and porous liquid crystal elastomer scaffolds for spatial cell cultures”, Macromol. Biosci.     2015, 15, 200-214. Featured on Materials Views (Link) Also featured as Back Cover, February 2015. 

1. K.S. Jang, J.C. Johnson, T. Hegmann, E. Hegmann, L.T.J. Korley. “Biphenyl-based liquid crystals for elevated temperature processing of polymers”. Liq. Cryst., 2014, 41, 1473-1482. 


3. Y. Gao, T. Hegmann, and E. Hegmann, 12/19/2014; PCT/US2014/071618 “Biocompatible: smart responsive scaffold having interconnected pores”

2. A. Neshat, A. Sharma, T. Hegmann, and E. Hegmann, 04/15/2013, US PCT 61/853993 “Biodegradable side-chain LC elastomers: smart responsive scaffolds”

1. M. S. Freund, E. Bravo-Grimaldo, and S. Hachey, US PCT/CA2006/000879 “Metastable reaction mixtures for the in-situ polymerization of conducting polymers”