analysis instruments are now available to MUSC researchers
Thanks to collaboration among the MUSC College of Dental Medicine and
participants in the MUSC/Clemson Joint Bioengineering Program, MUSC
researchers have gained on campus access to new thermal analysis
instrumentation. Dr. Xuejun Wen, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
and Cell Biology & Anatomy, is in charge of the instrumentation.
Funds provided by the dental school’s research infrastructure
grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
(NIDCR) were used to obtain a set of Mettler Toledo thermal analysis
instruments with two modules: one differential scanning calorimeter
module (DSC 822e) and one thermo gravimetric analysis/simultaneous
differential thermal analysis module (TGA/SDTA 851e). Both are equipped
with robotic sampler loaders for high throughput applications. The
equipments also come with a complete set of STARe thermokinetic analysis
The DSC module measures the heat flow in and out of samples as they
are subjected to a temperature profile. The heat flow is indicative
of phase changes. The operating temperature range for this module is –150 °C
to +700 °C. This equipment can measure the calorimetric properties
of a sample (such as heat capacity) as a function of temperature. Samples
can be a natural or synthetic biomaterial, a drug, or a biomolecule,
such as protein, lipid, nucleotide, etc.
Dr. Wen’s lab currently uses the DSC module to characterize:
1) thermal behaviors and degradation of several biodegradable materials
newly synthesized in the lab for tissue engineering applications, 2)
nano-/macro-particle and liposome-based drug delivery system, 3) thermal
behavior change of cells/tissues/biomolecules under different environmental
conditions; and 4) thermal denaturation of proteins in the engineered
tissue. Other examples of applications related to biomedical research
Establishing two-component phase diagram of the
mixture of two materials, drugs, or macromolecules, such as drug
delivery system and drug formulation.
Investigating glass transition
temperature, crystallization temperature, melting temperature,
solid-solid transitions, oxidative stability,
polymorphism, degradation of biomaterials and cross-linking,
and the degree of cure of thermosetting biomaterials.
domain structure, folding intermediates, oligomerization and interactions
of proteins and nucleic acids,
dynamics, and transport, temperature-induced transitions of
lipids/membrane system, and half-life of low molecular weight compounds.
Studying drug-protein/DNA/membrane interactions.
Determining thermal behavior change of tissue/cells/biomolecules— for
example, thermal denaturation protein structure can be used
as a useful probe for the study of damaged tissues.
The TGA/SDTA module records mass loss and temperature
difference between an unknown sample and a reference sample in the
same environment during
a programmed time and/or temperature profile. The operating
temperature range is from room temperature to +1100 °C.
Changes in mass indicate mass loss and phase changes
that occur at set temperatures
of the compound. A variety of atmospheres can be employed
during the analysis.
Dr. Wen’s lab currently uses the TGA/SDTA module
to characterize: 1) nano-thickness biodegradable polymeric
coatings on the bioceramic
nano-particles; and 2) in vitro biomineralization processes.
Other examples of applications related to biomedical
Detecting residual solvent in amorphous and crystalline
Characterizing the surface coating.
weight percentage of each component in a mixture.
adsorption property of a substrate.
This set of thermal equipment offers additional
possibilities for biomedical and bioengineering
research. For example,
the equipment can be connected
directly to a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR)
or mass spectrometer to analyze evolved gas
at different temperatures.
can be used in cure monitoring of light/thermal
curable biomaterials. Please
contact Dr. Wen to learn more about the applicability
and usage of this important new research instrumentation
Xuejun Wen, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and Cell
Biology & Anatomy
Clemson-MUSC Bioengineering Program
Children Research Institute #311
Tel: 792-5875 (Office) 792-5832 (Lab)