MSE Seminar: “Engineering Hydrogels for Cardiac Applications”


3:00 pm-4:00 pm
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Rhines Hall Room 125
549 Gale Lemerand Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611



My talk will focus on two topics related to the development of soft materials for cardiac applications: Novel injectable hydrogel strategy for treating ventricular arrhythmias: High-energy shocks used for cardiac defibrillation exceed the pain threshold. My research aims to develop new painless strategies to extinguish reentrant arrhythmias. The current treatment requires large energy because the current leads capture the tissue from a single point far from the heterogeneous scarred tissue responsible for the electrical disruptions. We hypothesized that flexible electrodes that can access midmyocardium near the scarred area, could terminate arrhythmias with low-energy shocks. However, there were no pacing electrodes small enough to navigate these tributaries to test this hypothesis. We were the first to report an injectable electrode used to pace the midmyocardium and mimic physiologic conduction. From microspheres to rods: Alternative granular materials for cardiac repair: Widely studied granular hydrogels consist of mostly of spherical particles. In contrast, our lab recently developed granular hydrogels from rod-like microgels of aspect ratio 2 for improved cellular invasions in both in vitro and in vivo studies. Our work assesses how increased aspect ratios affect granular hydrogel packing, injectability, cell invasion, and tissue reconstruction, which are crucial for delivery, mechanics, and angiogenesis.


Gabriel J. Rodriguez Rivera, PhD

ASEE Postdoctoral Fellow 
University of Colorado – Boulder 

Gabriel Josué Rodríguez Rivera was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He completed his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and earned an M.S. degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked for 7 in the manufacturing and technology transfer of new pharmaceutical products at Bristol Myers Squibb. Motivated by his interest in academia and biomaterials, he obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. Gabriel completed his dissertation on injectable hydrogel electrodes in Dr. Cosgriff-Hernandez’s lab, where he was co-advised by Dr. Rosales. Gabriel received the Pre-Doctoral and Dissertation Fellowships from the Ford Foundation, allowing him to explore this innovative research project. Then, he was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue his research work at the University of Colorado at Boulder under the mentorship of Dr. Jason Burdick. Gabriel is a co-founder of the Graduates for Underrepresented Minorities (GUM) at UT-Austin, and co-founder and chair of the LatinXinChE affinity community at AIChE.


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Department of Materials Science & Engineering