Biocompatible Tuning of Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework-8 and Encapsulation of Vaccine Model for Controlled Release




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Increased development of proteinaceous therapeutics and other biomolecules has signaled the demand for robust drug delivery technologies. Metal-organic frameworks have shown to meet the durability requirements but controlled delivery of their therapeutic-cargo and their long-term release profiles remain under-investigated. In this thesis, zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF8) is explored as a vaccine delivery vehicle in combination with the highly-investigated polymer, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA). Previous studies have shown their separate potential as immunogenic vaccine carriers, but a combined system remains unexplored. Using FITC-tagged ovalbumin as a model vaccine therapy, this combined vaccine delivery system is characterized and investigated to determine its’ release profile. In a separate study, a biocompatible method of tuning ZIF-8 micropores to create a hierarchically porous material is developed via defect formation using bovine serum albumin. Here, the cystine residues of the protein are alkylated to control the pore size and ultimately the release time of the encapsulated cargo. Together, these two research explorations serve as fundamental steps towards facilitating the establishment of ZIF-8 as a viable vaccine carrier platform.



Chemistry, Pharmaceutical, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Polymer