ECM Hydrogel Derived from Decellularized Adipose Tissue for Adipose Derived Stem Cell Differentiation to Augment Breast Reconstruction; Ignorance and Discrimination: The United States and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Kian, Andrea, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Cottler, Patrick, MD-PLSR Plastic Surgery, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

The two projects contained in this portfolio are loosely connected. The capstone report focuses on the formation of a hydrogel composed from the extracellular matrix of a decellularized adipose tissue, which is considered one of the most abundant and consumable biomaterials. The result of the technical project describes the hydrogel supporting the proliferation and differentiation of adipose-derived stem cells into adipocytes, thus allowing for better integration of the hydrogel into breast tissue. On the other hand, the STS research paper focuses on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) as a political technology utilized to create a power gap between the LGBT community and the United States government through the creation and fortification of a stigma. The stigma that HIV/AIDS is a ‘gay’ disease, along with the lack of education surrounding the virus, poses a real and dangerous threat to those who are currently suffering from breast cancer. Even though the mortality rate in breast cancer has decreased by 40% in recent years, viruses and diseases such as HIV/AIDS can still maintain high mortality rates for breast cancer (Simon, n.d.). Thus, emphasizing the importance of further understanding how this stigma came to be and attempting to rectify it.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
ECM hydrogel, Adipose-derived stem cells, Breast Reconstruction, HIV/AIDS, Political Technologies

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Patrick Cottler
STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook
Technical Team Members: Nhut Vy Nguyen, Olivia Marquis

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