Chemical and Biomedical Engineering - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 247
CODE STROKE ALERT-Concept and Development of a Novel Open-Source Platform to Streamline Acute Stroke Management
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-07-31)
Introduction: Effective, time-critical intervention in acute stroke is crucial to mitigate mortality rate and morbidity, but delivery of reperfusion treatments is often hampered by pre-, in-, or inter-hospital system level delays. Disjointed, repetitive, and inefficient communication is a consistent contributor to avoidable treatment delay. In the era of rapid reperfusion therapy for ischemic stroke, there is a need for a communication system to synchronize the flow of clinical information across the entire stroke journey. Material/Methods: A multi-disciplinary development team designed an electronic communications platform, integrated between web browsers and a mobile application, to link all relevant members of the stroke treatment pathway. The platform uses tiered notifications, geotagging, incorporates multiple clinical score calculators, and is compliant with security regulations. The system safely saves relevant information for audit and research. Results: Code Stroke Alert is a platform that can be accessed by emergency medical services (EMS) and hospital staff, coordinating the flow of information during acute stroke care, reducing duplication, and error in clinical information handover. Electronic data logs provide an auditable trail of relevant quality improvement metrics, facilitating quality improvement, and research. Discussion: Code Stroke Alert will be freely available to health networks globally. The open-source nature of the software offers valuable potential for future development of plug-ins and add-ons, based on individual institutional needs. Prospective, multi-site implementation, and measurement of clinical impact are underway.
CFD Simulation of Two-Phase Flow in a Hybrid Pulsed Sieve-Plate Solvent Extraction Column: Prediction of Holdup and Axial-dispersion Coefficients
(Taylor & Francis, 2020-01-02)
Two-phase computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models for a hybrid pulsed sieve-plate solvent extraction column, as well as a standard pulsed sieve-plate column, have been developed with commercial software ANSYS FLUENT. Hydrodynamic performance including two-phase distribution and velocity fields are generated with the models and comparisons are made between two columns. Important parameters including holdup and axial-dispersion coefficients are studied systematically, and CFD successfully predicts the higher holdup and lower axial-dispersion coefficients for the hybrid pulsed sieve-plate column as measured in the experiments. CFD also gives reasonable predictions for the effect of pulsation intensity, dispersed-phase velocity, and continuous-phase velocity on holdup, except for the effect of pulsation intensity in low pulsation region, and the cause has been discussed from the perspective of droplet breakage and coalescence. Comparison with literature data shows that CFD underestimates the holdup of hybrid pulsed sieve-plate column and standard pulsed sieve-plate column by 23.3% and 31.4%, respectively, and the cause has been discussed from the perspective of drag law. CFD gives good prediction of axial-dispersion coefficients for the hybrid pulsed sieve-plate column and the standard pulsed sieve-plate column with ARD of 12.0% and 14.3%, respectively. This study shows CFD to be a useful tool to predict performance for the novel hybrid pulsed sieve-plate column as well as the standard pulsed sieve-plate column.
Axial Dispersion and Mass Transfer of a Pulsed Solvent Extraction Column with Novel Ceramic Internals
(AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2017-03-22)
Two types of novel anticorrosive ceramic internals, the hybrid ceramic internal and ceramic plate, are designed and tested under pilot conditions for future industrial application in lithium extraction from salt lake brine. A standard liquid–liquid system with medium interfacial tension, 30% TBP in Shellsol 2046–water with acetic acid as solute, is used to test axial dispersion and mass-transfer parameters, which are important to determine height of extraction columns, over a range of operating conditions. Results show that the hybrid ceramic internal has 50% lower axial dispersion coefficient and 50% higher mass-transfer coefficient, both contributing to better mass-transfer performance. Under proper operating conditions, the height of the transfer unit of the hybrid ceramic internal can reach as low as approximately 0.2 m, which shows very good efficiency and makes it promising for application in the near future.
A state-of-the-art review on single drop study in liquid–liquid extraction: Experiments and simulations
(Elsevier BV, 2019-12)
The experimental and numerical investigations of single drop in liquid/liquid extraction system have been reviewed with particular focus on experimental techniques and computational fluid dynamic simulation approaches. Comprehensive surveys of available experimental techniques and numerical approaches for single drop rising and falling were given. Subsequently, single drop mass transfer was also reviewed both experimentally and numerically. Additionally, single drop breakage and coalescence process and the influencing factors were summarized and compared, so as to establish sub-models for population balance model. Future directions on single drop mass transfer, drop breakage and coalescence were suggested. It is believed that the single drop is a powerful tool to assist extraction process design from lab-scale to pilot-scale.
An experimental study on single drop rising in a low interfacial tension liquid–liquid system
Terminal velocity of liquid drops is one of the key parameters in liquid–liquid extraction column design. It is important in determining residence time, droplet lifetime, and mass transfer rate. In present paper, the rising behavior of a single drops were investigated in a low interfacial tension system by high speed camera. An n-butanol/water system was used as test system. Correlations for terminal velocity were evaluated and compared, both explicitly and implicitly. Moreover, the influence of salt addition in aqueous phase was also studied, including salt concentrations and types. A Weber–Reynolds correlation was derived on the basis of experimental data. Drag coefficient was then calculated and showed a good agreement compared to the correlations in literatures.
Review of Membranes for Helium Separation and Purification
Membrane gas separation has potential for the recovery and purification of helium, because the majority of membranes have selectivity for helium. This review reports on the current state of the research and patent literature for membranes undertaking helium separation. This includes direct recovery from natural gas, as an ancillary stage in natural gas processing, as well as niche applications where helium recycling has potential. A review of the available polymeric and inorganic membranes for helium separation is provided. Commercial gas separation membranes in comparable gas industries are discussed in terms of their potential in helium separation. Also presented are the various membrane process designs patented for the recovery and purification of helium from various sources, as these demonstrate that it is viable to separate helium through currently available polymeric membranes. This review places a particular focus on those processes where membranes are combined in series with another separation technology, commonly pressure swing adsorption. These combined processes have the most potential for membranes to produce a high purity helium product. The review demonstrates that membrane gas separation is technically feasible for helium recovery and purification, though membranes are currently only applied in niche applications focused on reusing helium rather than separation from natural sources.
Surface Modification of Spider Silk Particles to Direct Biomolecular Corona Formation.
(American Chemical Society, 2020-05-20)
In recent years, spider silk-based materials have attracted attention because of their biocompatibility, processability, and biodegradability. For their potential use in biomaterial applications, i.e., as drug delivery systems and implant coatings for tissue regeneration, it is vital to understand the interactions between the silk biomaterial surface and the biological environment. Like most polymeric carrier systems, spider silk material surfaces can adsorb proteins when in contact with blood, resulting in the formation of a biomolecular corona. Here, we assessed the effect of surface net charge of materials made of recombinant spider silk on the biomolecular corona composition. In-depth proteomic analysis of the biomolecular corona revealed that positively charged spider silk materials surfaces interacted predominantly with fibrinogen-based proteins. This fibrinogen enrichment correlated with blood clotting observed for both positively charged spider silk films and particles. In contrast, negative surface charges prevented blood clotting. Genetic engineering allows the fine-tuning of surface properties of the spider silk particles providing a whole set of recombinant spider silk proteins with different charges or peptide tags to be used for, for example, drug delivery or cell docking, and several of these were analyzed concerning the composition of their biomolecular corona. Taken together this study demonstrates how the surface net charge of recombinant spider silk surfaces affects the composition of the biomolecular corona, which in turn affects macroscopic effects such as fibrin formation and blood clotting.
Modulating the Selectivity and Stealth Properties of Ellipsoidal Polymersomes through a Multivalent Peptide Ligand Display
There is a need for improved nanomaterials to simultaneously target cancer cells and avoid non‐specific clearance by phagocytes. An ellipsoidal polymersome system is developed with a unique tunable size and shape property. These particles are functionalized with in‐house phage‐display cell‐targeting peptide to target a medulloblastoma cell line in vitro. Particle association with medulloblastoma cells is modulated by tuning the peptide ligand density on the particles. These polymersomes has low levels of association with primary human blood phagocytes. The stealth properties of the polymersomes are further improved by including the peptide targeting moiety, an effect that is likely driven by the peptide protecting the particles from binding blood plasma proteins. Overall, this ellipsoidal polymersome system provides a promising platform to explore tumor cell targeting in vivo.
Structure-Dependent Interfacial Properties of Chaplin F from Streptomyces coelicolor
Chaplin F (Chp F) is a secreted surface-active peptide involved in the aerial growth of Streptomyces. While Chp E demonstrates a pH-responsive surface activity, the relationship between Chp F structure, function and the effect of solution pH is unknown. Chp F peptides were found to self-assemble into amyloid fibrils at acidic pH (3.0 or the isoelectric point (pI) of 4.2), with ~99% of peptides converted into insoluble fibrils. In contrast, Chp F formed short assemblies containing a mixture of random coil and β-sheet structure at a basic pH of 10.0, where only 40% of the peptides converted to fibrils. The cysteine residues in Chp F did not appear to play a role in fibril assembly. The interfacial properties of Chp F at the air/water interface were altered by the structures adopted at different pH, with Chp F molecules forming a higher surface-active film at pH 10.0 with a lower area per molecule compared to Chp F fibrils at pH 3.0. These data show that the pH responsiveness of Chp F surface activity is the reverse of that observed for Chp E, which could prove useful in potential applications where surface activity is desired over a wide range of solution pH.
The Assembly of Individual Chaplin Peptides from Streptomyces coelicolor into Functional Amyloid Fibrils
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-04-19)
The self-association of proteins into amyloid fibrils offers an alternative to the natively folded state of many polypeptides. Although commonly associated with disease, amyloid fibrils represent the natural functional state of some proteins, such as the chaplins from the soil-dwelling bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor, which coat the aerial mycelium and spores rendering them hydrophobic. We have undertaken a biophysical characterisation of the five short chaplin peptides ChpD-H to probe the mechanism by which these peptides self-assemble in solution to form fibrils. Each of the five chaplin peptides produced synthetically or isolated from the cell wall is individually surface-active and capable of forming fibrils under a range of solution conditions in vitro. These fibrils contain a highly similar cross-β core structure and a secondary structure that resembles fibrils formed in vivo on the spore and mycelium surface. They can also restore the growth of aerial hyphae to a chaplin mutant strain. We show that cysteine residues are not required for fibril formation in vitro and propose a role for the cysteine residues conserved in four of the five short chaplin peptides.
The propensity of the bacterial rodlin protein RdlB to form amyloid fibrils determines its function in Streptomyces coelicolor
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-02-17)
Streptomyces bacteria form reproductive aerial hyphae that are covered with a pattern of pairwise aligned fibrils called rodlets. The presence of the rodlet layer requires two homologous rodlin proteins, RdlA and RdlB, and the functional amyloid chaplin proteins, ChpA-H. In contrast to the redundancy shared among the eight chaplins, both RdlA and RdlB are indispensable for the establishment of this rodlet structure. By using a comprehensive biophysical approach combined with in vivo characterization we found that RdlB, but not RdlA, readily assembles into amyloid fibrils. The marked difference in amyloid propensity between these highly similar proteins could be largely attributed to a difference in amino acid sequence at just three sites. Further, an engineered RdlA protein in which these three key amino acids were replaced with the corresponding residues from RdlB could compensate for loss of RdlB and restore formation of the surface-exposed amyloid layer in bacteria. Our data reveal that RdlB is a new functional amyloid and provide a biophysical basis for the functional differences between the two rodlin proteins. This study enhances our understanding of how rodlin proteins contribute to formation of an outer fibrillar layer during spore morphogenesis in streptomycetes.
High-Efficiency Biocatalytic Conversion of Thebaine to Codeine
(American Chemical Society, 2020-04-28)
An enzymatic biosynthesis approach is described for codeine, the most widely used medicinal opiate, providing a more environmentally sustainable alternative to current chemical conversion, with yields and productivity compatible with industrial production. Escherichia coli strains were engineered to express key enzymes from poppy, including the recently discovered neopinone isomerase, producing codeine from thebaine. We show that compartmentalization of these enzymes in different cells is an effective strategy that allows active spatial and temporal control of reactions, increasing yield and volumetric productivity and reducing byproduct generation. Codeine is produced at a yield of 64% and a volumetric productivity of 0.19 g/(L·h), providing the basis for an industrially applicable aqueous whole-cell biotransformation process. This approach could be used to redirect thebaine-rich feedstocks arising from the U.S. reduction of opioid manufacturing quotas or applied to enable total biosynthesis and may have broader applicability to other medicinal plant compounds.