UGA researchers develop multi-use ‘superfoam’
In UGA’s School of Chemical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering, associate professor Hitesh Handa is developing a unique porous foam. The material is water repellant, allowing it to resist blood, proteins, and exhibit antimicrobial properties. According to the university, this makes it useful for reducing medical implant-related infections.
“When you put any medical device into the body, proteins are the first thing to stick to a surface, and they act like a glue that allows blood or bacteria to adhere,” Hitesh Handa, an associate professor in UGA’s School of Chemical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering, said. So, if we can stop the protein adsorption, half the battle is won.”
The superfoam has uses beyond just the human body. As the foam repels water, it absorbs oil. With the proper safety standards in place, the relatively inexpensive foam could help with oil cleanups on a large scale.
So far, studies on infection reduction using E. coli as a test bacterium have shown positive results. The researchers’ next step is to test the material with medical implants to further demonstrate its effectiveness.