SPUR 2019: Patterned Silicone Surfaces for Limiting Infection in Breast Prostheses


Breast prosthesis placement secondary to mastectomy remains one of the most commonly performed procedures in reconstructive surgery. Post-operatively, one of the major complication is periprosthetic infection. It is estimated that approximately 15% of breast prostheses complications are due to infection, while an additional ~35% are attributed to aggressive capsular contracture (CC) formation. Interestingly, recent publications attribute these CC to biofilm formation and also associate the presence of acute infection as a potential etiology. Since micro-patterned surfaces, such as Sharklet™, have been shown to limit bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation while promoting adhesion of healthy cells, one option to reduce these high infection rates is to modify the breast prosthetic surfaces with micro-patterns. This concept is based on the “race-for-the-surface” principle—where anti-biofilm adhesive surfaces provide a protective environment for host eukaryotic cells to adhere and proliferate first. To date, no studies have been attempted to test these surfaces on breast prostheses. Thus, our group is investigating a range of surface patterns with micro-scaled repeating units on silicone surfaces to reduce or eliminate bacterial adhesion, thereby deterring biofilm formation while allowing directional adhesion of the fibroblasts and limiting cancer cell proliferation.

Student Role

Student will help with surface fabrication, in vitro and in vivo assays, where he/she will have the opportunity to lean micro texturing techniques, cell culture, and sterile techniques. Also, he/she will have the opportunity to design experiments to compare micro-patterned surfaces to the clinically used smooth and textured silicone breast prosthesis surfaces.

Student Learning Outcomes & Benefits

Students' learning outcomes will be measured on the basis of their knowledge, laboratory skills, and ability to work with minimal supervision after the initial training and at the end of the program. Also, t the end of the SPUR program, the student will be assessed for:

  • Critical thinking
  • Logical reasoning
  • Technical skills
  • Research skills
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Team working skills

Benefits to students: Students will be trained on how to effectively do scientific literature search, write-up scientific experiments and collect data, perform technical experiments as a group and individually as well as translational science methodologies. This program will truly benefit students who want to pursue higher education in research. Exceptional student will be given an opportunity to continue to work within our laboratory. Also, student who will do an exceptional work will be rewarded with authorship in peer-reviewed journals.

Sujee Jeyapalina
research Assistant Professor

School of Medicine

As mentor, I will not simply lead by example, but instead, I will be involved in my students' professional development. I will do this by being mindful of the his/her future and by fostering skill sets that are valuable, not only to their present work, but also to their future careers.

A common misconception is that formal mentoring begins the day the student starts working under you, in fact, effective mentoring begins during the initial application review process. I use this review to ensure the pairing will be favorable to both parties, not solely in my research interests and the working styles of my research group, but also, to the interest of the student. This review is where I will first match mutual interests, the type of work they would like to take part in, and their future goals. I will also address their background and attempt to identify their strengths and weaknesses. This information will help determine what an appropriate research project for them might be. Though it is ideal that both parties share similar interests, that is not the sole factor that needs to be accounted for when selecting a mentee. We will also discuss what style of working is best for them and when they are most productive. During this initial meeting, I will also explain how this symbiotic relationship will be beneficial to both parties.

Specific Mentoring Activities will include biweekly journal club, weekly lab meeting, and one-to-one training on techniques.