The long-term objective of my research program is to develop a quantitative and qualitative understanding of the relationship between molecular and supramolecular structures and the macroscopic properties of nanomaterial that may be employed in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industies. We work extensively with self-assembled low molecular weight gelators, novel lipids, skin bioactives, cholesterol, and polysaccharides
In North American and across the majority of the industrialized nations the most serious threat to public health is now attributable entirely or in part to the foods which we consume. It is estimated that unhealthy eating is costing the United States 71 billion dollars each year in associated health care costs. Not only is unhealthy eating costing us billions but it is also costing us quality and quantity of life. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services unhealthy eating and physical inactivity accounts for more deaths per year than tobacco consumption. Typically, we consume to much saturated fat, salt, refined sugar, refined oils and not enough fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. These dietary changes are implicated in the three top killers in the North America including heart disease, cancer, and stroke as well as diabetes, liver disease and elevated blood pressure which are in the top 15 causes of death. Perhaps what is even more amazing is that the diets we have consumed during the past two generations has lead to the development of a completely new epidemic which was unheard of 70 years ago. It is estimated that 234 million people suffer from metabolic syndrome which comprises several risk factors including: impaired insulin sensitivity, dyslipidaemia, abdominal obesity and hypertension. Metabolic syndrome leads to a high risk of subsequent development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and premature death.
It is estimated that 20% of the American population suffer from inflammatory skin diseases including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, which are chronic aliments with no cures. It is estimated that the total direct and indirect health care costs of psoriasis alone exceeds 11 billion dollars annually. Numerous treatment options for inflammatory skin diseases rely on the application of topical ointments that delivery tazarotene, salicylic acid, retanoids or corticosteroids. Aqueous delivery systems have several drawbacks: 1) drugs that are amphiphilic in nature have poor solubility, 2) they are often structured with compounds that may further irritate the afflicted skin, and 3) they do not form a natural barrier to moisture loss or secondary infection.
Our delivery systems will not only act as a delivery agent for current treatments but also enhance the barrier of the diseased skin reducing desiccation. Also, the formulation of organogels can play a solubilizing role, maximizing the partitioning coefficients of the active ingredient delivered into the skin tissue. The organogels will be tested for stability, rate of release, crystallinity and macroscopic hardness to assess the feasibility of employing these gels as topical delivery systems.