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April Kloxin - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

April Kloxin

Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering | University of Delaware


Prof. Kloxin's research group seeks to design responsive materials for tissue regeneration.





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April Kloxin's research group seeks to design responsive materials and to use them to understand and direct complex biological processes relevant to tissue regeneration and disease. We design materials to mimic soft tissues and whose properties can be modified at locations and times of interest. These unique biomaterials are used as a flexible platform for cell culture to ask fundamental questions about how the environment surrounding a cell influences regeneration or disease progression. These findings are utilized to develop better strategies for tissue repair or disease treatment towards improving human health and quality of life.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (5)

Stimuli-Responsive Materials


3D Cell Culture

Tissue Engineering

Drug Delivery

Media Appearances (5)

New tool for understanding disease | UDaily

University of Delaware  online


“The big problem we’re trying to address is the need for improved human disease models,” said Kloxin, Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Development Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “In this case, we’re talking about breast cancer, specifically late recurrence that occurs at sites far away from the original tumor, which can be really difficult to detect in a timeframe that’s useful for treating the patient before additional growth and spread of the cancer from those sites occurs.

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April Kloxin wins NIH innovator award

EurekAlert!  online


Kloxin, Centennial Career Development Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and associate professor of materials science and engineering, is one of 60 researchers from across the country who received the 2019 NIH Director's New Innovator Award. This award supports unusually innovative research from early career investigators who are within 10 years of their final degree or clinical residency and have not yet received a research project grant or equivalent NIH grant.

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Biomimicry exhibit encourages kids to see nature in new ways

Delaware Public Media  online


The exhibit, back at the museum for a second time, focuses on inspiring curiosity about the natural world in children of all ages. "To reach pre-K kids, before they are even literate, we have to find a way to break down complex concepts," said Dr. Kloxin.

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Nature meets science in museum exhibit | UDaily

University of Delaware  online


When kids visit the Delaware Museum of Natural History between now and May 12, they can play with and learn from an educational kiosk developed by April Kloxin, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and materials science and engineering at the University of Delaware.

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Funding improves breast cancer survival rates

The News Journal  online


Kloxin, a University of Delaware engineering professor and Pew Scholar in Biomedical Science, wants to know why 20 percent of women who are treated and declared breast cancer-free by their doctors develop breast cancer five to 25 years later. When cancer strikes again, it metastasizes in other parts of the body such as the bones and lungs.

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Articles (5)

Systematic d-Amino Acid Substitutions to Control Peptide and Hydrogel Degradation in Cellular Microenvironments

ACS Macro Letters

2023 Enzymatically degradable peptides are commonly used as linkers within hydrogels for biological applications; however, controlling the degradation of these engineered peptides with different contexts and cell types can prove challenging. In this work, we systematically examined the substitution of d-amino acids (D-AAs) for different l-amino acids in a peptide sequence commonly utilized in enzymatically degradable hydrogels (VPMS↓MRGG) to create peptide linkers with a range of different degradation times, in solution and in hydrogels, and investigated the cytocompatibility of these materials. We found that increasing the number of D-AA substitutions increased the resistance to enzymatic degradation both for free peptide and peptide-linked hydrogels; yet, this trend also was accompanied by increased cytotoxicity in cell culture.

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Dynamic bioinspired coculture model for probing ER+ breast cancer dormancy in the bone marrow niche

Science Advances

2023 Late recurrences of breast cancer are hypothesized to arise from disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) that reactivate after dormancy and occur most frequently with estrogen receptor–positive (ER+) breast cancer cells (BCCs) in bone marrow (BM). Interactions between the BM niche and BCCs are thought to play a pivotal role in recurrence, and relevant model systems are needed for mechanistic insights and improved treatments. We examined dormant DTCs in vivo and observed DTCs near bone lining cells and exhibiting autophagy. To study underlying cell-cell interactions, we established a well-defined, bioinspired dynamic indirect coculture model of ER+ BCCs with BM niche cells, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and fetal osteoblasts (hFOBs). hMSCs promoted BCC growth, whereas hFOBs promoted dormancy and autophagy, regulated in part by tumor necrosis factor–α and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 receptor signaling.

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Cell Therapy Biomanufacturing: Integrating Biomaterial and Flow‐Based Membrane Technologies for Production of Engineered T‐Cells

Advanced Materials Technologies

2023 Adoptive T‐cell therapies (ATCTs) are increasingly important for the treatment of cancer, where patient immune cells are engineered to target and eradicate diseased cells. The biomanufacturing of ATCTs involves a series of time‐intensive, lab‐scale steps, including isolation, activation, genetic modification, and expansion of a patient's T‐cells prior to achieving a final product. Innovative modular technologies are needed to produce cell therapies at improved scale and enhanced efficacy. In this work, well‐defined, bioinspired soft materials are integrated within flow‐based membrane devices for improving the activation and transduction of T‐cells.

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Effects of Solvent Conditions on the Self-Assembly of Heterotrimeric Collagen-Like Peptide (CLP) Triple Helices: A Coarse-Grained Simulation Study

Soft Matter

2023 We perform coarse-grained (CG) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the self-assembly of collagen-like peptide (CLP) triple helices into fibrillar structures and percolated networks as a function of solvent quality. The focus of this study is on CLP triple helices whose strands are different lengths (i.e., heterotrimers), leading to dangling ‘sticky ends’. These ‘sticky ends’ are segments of the CLP strands that have unbonded hydrogen-bonding donor/acceptor sites that drive heterotrimeric CLP triple helices to physically associate with one another, leading to assembly into higher-order structures. We use a validated CG model for CLP in implicit solvent and capture varying solvent quality through changing strength of attraction between CG beads representing the amino acids in the CLP strands.

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Engineered hydrogels for mechanobiology

Nature Reviews Methods Primers

2022 Cells’ local mechanical environment can be as important in guiding cellular responses as many well-characterized biochemical cues. Hydrogels that mimic the native extracellular matrix can provide these mechanical cues to encapsulated cells, allowing for the study of their impact on cellular behaviours. Moreover, by harnessing cellular responses to mechanical cues, hydrogels can be used to create tissues in vitro for regenerative medicine applications and for disease modelling. This Primer outlines the importance and challenges of creating hydrogels that mimic the mechanical and biological properties of the native extracellular matrix. The design of hydrogels for mechanobiology studies is discussed, including the appropriate choice of cross-linking chemistry and strategies to tailor hydrogel mechanical cues.

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Accomplishments (5)

American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Division 15D/E Plenary (professional)


NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (professional)


Biomaterials Science Lectureship (professional)


PMSE Arthur K. Doolittle Award, American Chemical Society (professional)


National IDeA Symposium Biomedical Research Excellence Young Investigator Travel Award (professional)


Education (3)

University of Colorado: PhD, Chemical and Biological Engineering 2009

North Carolina State University: MS, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 2004

North Carolina State University: BS, Chemical Engineering 2001

Languages (1)

  • English

Event Appearances (5)

“‘Mix and Match’: local delivery of protein-based biologics using responsive microgels”

(2020) World Biomaterials Congress (WBC)  

“Designing soft biomaterials with multiscale properties as instructive synthetic extracellular matrices”

(2020) Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall National Meeting  

“Engineered systems for controlling cellular microenvironments: from designing synthetic extracellular matrices to probing cell responses in disease models”

(2020) American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) National Meeting  

“Designing and applying synthetic extracellular matrices with multiscale property control to probe key regulators of cell function and fate”

(2019) European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) Annual Meeting  

“Multiscale property control through self-assembly and photopolymerization”

(2019) American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall Meeting  San Diego, CA

Patents (3)