Louisiana Tech’s Decoster leads discovery of potentially revolutionary healthcare advance

Feb 23, 2024 | Engineering and Science, Faculty/Staff, Research

An international team of scientists is reporting on the antibacterial and angiogenic properties of a nanomaterial discovered at Louisiana Tech University. The material, discovered by Dr. Mark DeCoster’s Neuroscience lab at Tech, is copper high aspect ratio structures (CuHARS).

“In an era where innovation meets collaboration, the discovery of CuHARS antibacterial and angiogenic properties marks a significant stride in medical research,” Dr. Sumeet Dua, Tech’s executive vice president of research said. “This nanomaterial not only promises to transform tissue regeneration and wound healing but also reflects our dedication to pioneering sustainable healthcare solutions.”

The material self-assembles at body temperature and is 100 percent biodegradable. In this new study that was reported in the American Chemistry Society’s journal, ACS Omega, significant new molecular details and potential health benefits of the material are revealed.

The CuHARS were shown to kill bacteria and the same material could promote the growth and migration of cells that make up blood vessels. These two properties together could revolutionize tissue regeneration and wound healing by promoting blood vessel growth and at the same time reducing the risk of infection.

“In addition to building on these new successes, we are also working with the Stone Research Foundation in San Francisco to test the idea that our material, CuHARS, could help with accelerating healing and diminish arthritis in humans,” Decoster said. “We are currently seeking funding and building fundraising strategies to support these innovative ideas.”

The team, led by Decoster, included a former Tech PhD student and Fulbright Scholar from Madrid, Spain who dedicated eight months of her time to this discovery.

“As we explore CuHARS’ potential for improving patient care, we remain focused on securing the support needed to bring these groundbreaking ideas to life,” Dua said. “This achievement is a testament to our University’s role in shaping the future of medical science, offering hope for safer, more effective treatments.”

The new research, entitled: “Copper–Cystine Biohybrid-Embedded Nanofiber Aerogels Show Antibacterial and Angiogenic Properties”, was co-authored by DeCoster at Louisiana Tech, and other collaborators from Spain, Harvard University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the Terasaki Institute in California.