Date of Award

August 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Jennifer H Gutzman

Committee Members

Ionel Popa, Ava Udvadia


Biocompatibility, Hydrogel, IBD, Inflammation, Intestine, Zebrafish


The fields of biomedicine and pharmacology have a mission to design methods to treat disease while minimizing adverse side effects using novel drug delivery systems. In developing new therapeutic systems, it is crucial to test that drug delivery systems target pathological cells and tissue and is non-toxic in healthy tissue. One promising method for targeted drug delivery is the use of hydrogels as carriers. Here, we studied the effects of bovine serum albumin (BSA) hydrogel consumption to assess the potential for hydrogel use in treating intestinal disease via oral administration. We investigated intestinal architecture and cell populations following hydrogel treatments in adult zebrafish. Our studies revealed that consumption of BSA hydrogels results in normal intestinal villi architecture and bowel wall integrity. Furthermore, we demonstrated that intestinal goblet cell appearance and abundance did not change, and eosinophil populations remain constant over the course of treatment compared to control tissue. We confirmed this by comparing control- and hydrogel-fed tissue to tissue with chemically-induced inflammation. This study is important for the future development of biocompatible drug delivery systems using hydrogels.