Student Profile: Matthew Tamasi

Department: BME
Advisor: Dr. Adam Gormley

BS, Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University, 2018
PhD Candidate, Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University, 2018-present

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Research Interests
Drug Delivery, Polymer Synthesis, Automation, Machine Learning, Nano & Micro Biological Interface

Research Summary
The last decade has seen a significant increase in the use of polymers for biological applications from drug delivery vehicles to materials for tissue engineering. Combinatorial libraries are chemical libraries with a large array of structurally and chemically diverse compounds, which are then used for screening individual interactions with biological targets. My goal is to leverage recent oxygen tolerant polymerization chemistries such as PET-RAFT to develop an automated synthesis platform for combinatorial polymer libraries. My research has focused on the adaptation of a liquid handling robotic system that allows the user to design nanoscale polymers using a graphic user interface (GUI) developed in Python. This interface allows for the customization of chemical parameters such as polymer size, material, and post-functionalization using click chemistry techniques. The aim of developing this platform, is for it to become a tool for high throughput synthesis of easily customizable polymers for various biological interfaces. Current work utilizing this platform has been focused on exploring the interaction of random heteropolymers with enzymes in destabilizing environments (high temperature, extreme pH, organic solvents) to retain enzymatic activity. The future goals of this work are to bring a big data approach to biological testing and leverage the ability to create combinatorial libraries of polymers in high throughput fashion. The application of machine learning techniques and high-throughput characterization will be aimed at exploring the relationship between structure and activity between diverse polymers and their biological interactions.

Awards & Honors
US DoEd GAANN Fellowship in Precision and Personalized Medicine, 2018-Present

Representative Graduate Courses Taken
Nano and Micro Biointerfaces
Advanced Biotechnology Topics
Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering
Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Science and Technology
Bioimaging Methods
Kinetics, Thermodynamics and Transport
Drug Delivery

Leadership & Outreach
Rutgers Educational Athlete Development Initiative (READI) – Co-Founder & Mentor (2017 – Present)