Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Biological and Irrigation Engineering


Methods for drug delivery are currently being researched in many different applications. One significant obstacle to drug delivery is a drug's inherent hydrophobic character. Drugs that are hydrophobic are difficult to successfully administer since the body consists mostly of water. Therefore, a greater variety of drugs could potentially be used for the treatment of disease if they could successfully be administered. Recent research in oncology and virology has attempted to overcome the obstacles posed by hydrophobic drugs by encapsulating them in micelles. Micelles form spontaneously from compounds that contain both hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions and can be used to increase the solubility of hydrophobic drugs in water. Commonly used compounds that form micelles are Pluronic copolymers, which have a hydrophilic block that consists of polyethylene oxide (PEO) subunits and two hydrophobic blocks that consist of polypropylene oxide (PPO) subunits. Different types of Pluronic such as Pluronic F68 and F127 each have a triblock structure made of the same PEO and PPO subunits but differ in the number of these subunit repeats. This difference affects both size and hydrophilic lipophilic ratio, which is described as hydrophilic lipophilic balance (HLB). It was hypothesized that micelles offer encapsulated drugs protection from oxidation and that polymer properties such as HLB influence the degree of protection. Results from this experiment indicate that Pluronic can be used to form micelles that offer a degree of oxidative protection to encapsulated quercetin. Results also showed that the Pluronic polymers F68 and F127 may offer different levels of oxidative protection as well. The data suggests that Pluronic F127 may offer greater protection than Pluronic F68 which is thought to be due to differences in the inherent properties of each copolymer. Among these properties, HLB is thought to be a significant influencing factor.



Faculty Mentor

David Britt