Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Chemical Engineering

Research Sponsor

Nic Leipzig

First Reader

Bi-min Zhang Newby

Second Reader

Jie Zhang


According to the McKnight Brain Institute, at least 10,000 people annually in the USA suffer from a central nervous system (CNS) injury. These injuries can cause serve disabilities including paralysis. Due to the complexity of the spinal cord, it is common that potential CNS treatments are first applied to an optic nerve crush (ONC) model in rats. Two proposed treatments were employed; one where nerve growth factor (NGF) was immobilized to a chitosan substrate to stimulate axonal regeneration, and the other using pentadecafluorooctanoyl chloride modified methacrylamide chitosan (MAC(Ali15)F) hydrogel to enhance local oxygenation. The two different treatments were formed into wraps and directly applied to the ONC. The treatments were evaluated using behavioral analysis and immunohistochemistry. There was no significant difference between the treatment and control groups due to flaws in the material and surgical procedures. The crush was only confirmed in 38% of the rats. Also, the NGF released from the material was considerably lower than similar published studies. In addition, the MAC(Ali15)F was used in such a small amount and was not loaded with oxygen prior to use. Despite the failure of this study, the possibilities for future work with biomaterial based CNS injury treatments have been highlighted.