Graphics & Multimedia Contribute to Chemical & Materials Engineering Grant

POSTED: MAY 15, 2013

Nihar Shah, Ph.D., a post-doctoral scholar in the University of Kentucky (UK) Chemical and Materials Engineering department, recently received grant funding from the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation for his project, “Development of Polymer Antioxidant Microparticles for the Accelerated Healing of Diabetic Ulcers.” The Graphics and Multimedia area of UK’s Academic Planning, Analytics and Technology (APAT) unit received a majority portion of the grant to develop scientific illustrations that describe the delivery of biodegradable polymers of natural antioxidants, such as curcumin and quercetin, to dermal wounds. Polymer particles protect the antioxidant contained within until they are attached to a wound bed, and upon exposure to water in the tissues, they release an antioxidant for therapeutic effect. These illustrations will become part of several small business grant proposals being submitted by Dr. Shah along with UK Chemical and Materials Engineering faculty Dr. Thomas Dziubla and Dr. J Zach Hilt for their startup company, Bluegrass Advanced Materials, LLC (BAM), to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

One of the innovations being pursued by BAM involves developing new therapeutic strategies for combating oxidative stress that is implicated in many skin wound pathologies such as diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and oral mucositis (OM). DFUs in particular, are a common complication of diabetes affecting over 3.6 million diabetic patients in the United States. They are extremely painful and can take months to years to heal. DFUs, which cost the US healthcare system approximately $5 billion/year, not only lead to physical disability and a marked reduction in quality of life, but also are the cause of up to 85% of non-traumatic leg amputations. The commercially viable and clinically efficacious formulations of biodegradable polymers of natural antioxidants being developed by BAM can be directly applied to wounds, treating the underlying oxidative stress that contributes to the abnormal healing. The expected acceleration in healing of DFUs will drastically improve patients’ quality of life and reduce treatment costs.

UK APAT’s Graphics and Multimedia team provides medical, scientific and technical illustrations and animations for journal submissions, grants and research and education-focused work. Please visit for more information.

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