Rowe Researcher: Self-Healing Double Network Hydrogels

Photo credit: Allison Battista
Photo credit: Allison Battista

Self-Healing Double Network Hydrogels

March 2013-2016

Investigators: Dr. Thomas Seery & Omar Allam, UConn Chemistry and Institute of Material Science (IMS), and the Jin Group, Chemistry Department at Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Hydrogels are gels in which the polymer chains that constitute them are hydrophilic and thus readily absorb water.  Theoretically, hydrogels have a wide array of applications, however, they display poor mechanical properties, which limit their use.  My research aims at i) synthesizing hydrogels with a unique double network structure in order to improve their mechanical properties (in particular, their toughness) and ii) characterizing the physical properties of these new hydrogels to determine their suitability for possible biomedical applications. If this new structure for hydrogels exhibits superior mechanical properties, it will provide an opportunity to test possible applications such as artificial cartilage, contact lenses, and scaffolds for delivering medicine.

2014 Rowe Scholar: Omar Allam

Omar Allam
Omar Allam (junior)

Omar Allam is a chemistry major from Mansfield, CT. A graduate of Glastonbury High School, he loves to cook and works part-time as an assistant chef at a Mediterranean restaurant where he specializes in baklava. He also volunteers as an EMT, which he feels provides an exhilarating perspective on medicine. Omar had the unique opportunity to observe the first TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) surgery in Connecticut, which occurred when he shadowed and conducted research with Dr. David Underhill, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Hartford Hospital.