A Controlled Drug-Delivery Experiment using Alginate Beads


  • Stephanie Farrell Rowan University
  • Jennifer Vernengo Rowan University


This paper describes a simple, cost-effective experiment which introduces students to drug delivery and modeling using alginate beads. Students produce calcium alginate beads loaded with drug and measure the rate of release from the beads for systems having different stir rates, geometries, extents of cross-linking, and drug molecular weight. Transient concentration data are then analyzed to characterize the release profile and rate and to determine the predominant rate controlling mechanism. The purpose of the experiment is to provide engineering students with basic skills relevant to drug delivery while simultaneously introducing or reinforcing concepts related to core science and engineering principles, design of experiments and data analysis, and engineering design.

Author Biographies

Stephanie Farrell, Rowan University

Stephanie Farrell is an associate professor of chemical engineering at Rowan University. She received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1996 and worked for two years on the faculty at Louisiana Tech University before joining ChE Rowan. Through her work in chemical engineering education, she has made contributions in the development of innovative laboratory experiments and curricular materials related to pharmaceutical engineering, drug delivery, and biomedical topics.

Jennifer Vernengo, Rowan University

Jennifer Vernengo is an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Rowan University. Jennifer received her Ph.D. from Drexel University in 2007. She began work as a materials scientist at Synthes Biomaterials, and then joined Drexel University Cof/ege of Medicine as a post-doc in 2009. Jennifer 's research is in the area of injectable biomaterials for orthopedic tissue replacement and repair. She is particularly interested in developing innovative approaches to biomedical engineering education.