Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Polymers and High Performance Materials

First Advisor

Yoan C. Simon, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials


Hydrogels are hydrophilic, three-dimensional materials used as platforms for various biomedical applications such as drug delivery, biosensors, or as scaffolds in tissue engineering. The ability to degrade on demand in response to biological cues is particularly attractive whether dealing with microgels or if one aims to release an active ingredient from a scaffolding material. For instance, many cancer-remediation drug delivery platforms leverage the high concentration of glutathione, a thiol-containing tripeptide, found in cancerous cells. In this work, poly(ethylene glycol) acrylate hydrogels were fabricated using dithiomaleimide (DTM) moieties. DTMs are known to undergo thiol-exchange reactions favoring the dissolution of the hydrogel in the presence of thiols. Herein, we study the role of DTM functionality, and thereby crosslink density, on the mechanical properties of these hydrogels and the rate of dissolution in the presence of thiols including glutathione using rheology and nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR). The use of DTM as a crosslinker in multi-respo