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Publication Date


First Advisor

Maren E. Buck

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Hydrogel, Photopattern, Shape changing polymer, Poly(2, 2-vinyl dimethyl azlacton


Inspired by previous work and limitations with poly(2-alkenyl azlactone) networks, I used photocage chemistry to introduce temporal and spatial control when generating dynamically tunable hydrogel networks intended for advanced cell culture platforms and tissue mimicry. Poly(2-vinyl-4,4’-dimethyl azlactone) (PVDMA) networks undergo crosslinking reactions with photocaged poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) diamine through exposure to long wave ultraviolet light, as confirmed through low strain cylindrical probe indentation experiments and ATR FT-IR spectroscopy. Photo-initiated crosslink formation alters local chemical and mechanical properties of a network and allows for the possible spatial organization of cellular behavior in an advanced cell culture platform. Application of photopatterning techniques to thin films produces networks that undergo directed swelling-induced shape change to create an array of folded hydrogel structures, which can act as shape-specific cell culture platforms for use in biomedical applications. Additionally, the modification of local chemical and mechanical properties of a network allows for the generation of polymeric, specific-tissue mimics for use in biomechanical studies as tissue proxies and medical applications as soft tissue prosthetics.


Reaction scheme of photo-induced crosslinking between PVDMA and photocaged PEG diamine (left); formation of a PVDMA-PEG diamine network from standing solution using UV light (upper right); swelling induced shape change in patterned PVDMA-PEG diamine films after light exposure (lower right)


©2019 Autmn M. Mineo. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




109 pages : illustrations (some color). Includes bibliographical references (pages 77-78)