Huntington senior Diya Rai-Gersappe's research project is vying in the LISEF contest

Senior Diya Rai-Gersappe Advances in LISEF Contest

Huntington senior Diya Rai-Gersappe's research project is vying in the LISEF contest

February 26, 2019

Huntington senior Diya Rai-Gersappe has advanced to the second round of this year’s Long Island Science & Engineering Fair competition.

Ms. Rai-Gersappe and her research partner, Ikshu Pandey from East Meadow started working on their project last year at Stony Brook University’s Garcia summer scholars program in a campus lab.

“Since we both are from Long Island, we have been able to continue our research throughout the school year,” Ms. Rai-Gersappe said. “Our project is focused on creating a non-invasive and biocompatible treatment for brain aneurysms. The current treatment is called endovascular coiling. This current treatment can lead to the formation of clots (which can lead to a stroke) and causes severe behavioral and cognitive function impairments in many of the patients who received this treatment.”

The second round of the LISEF competition will be held on Thursday, March 12 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Judges will conduct 15 minute interviews with contestants, who are expected to stand near their presentation boards between 9 a.m. – 1:20 p.m. Students must remain near the research for potential additional visits from judges between 1:20-2 p.m.

Ms. Rai-Gersappe and her partner have devoted an enormous number of hours to developing and refining their project. “We were able to continue our work and get really good results,” the Huntington senior said.

The teenager plans to attend Vassar College in the fall. She intends to ultimately pursue a career in medicine. Ms. Rai-Gersappe is also an athlete and musician. She also serves as secretary of Huntington High School’s Key Club chapter.

“My partner and I are also currently in the process of working with our research advisor, Dr. Miriam Rafailovich on getting our work published,” Ms. Rai-Gersappe said.

Abstract of Project

Development of Novel Cerebral Aneurysm Embolization Method via Injection of Pluronic®

F-127 Multiblock Copolymer Hydrogel

Intracranial aneurysms are a serious condition, affecting approximately six million people annually. The current method of treatment, endovascular coiling, utilizes a catheter to release platinum coils directly into the aneurysm which promotes diversion of blood flow. However, coiling is reported to be thrombogenic, and induces recanalization. In order to circumvent these problems, we propose an alternative approach, where polymer gels are directly injected into the aneurysm. In this manner, the polymer can be engineered to occlude blood flow, while promoting endothelialization and minimizing thrombogenesis.

A silicone model was 3-D printed from a cone CAT scan of a goat aneurysm. The model was connected to a peristaltic pump, which simulated the pulsatile blood flow in the carotid artery. The polymer gels were then injected directly into the model, maintained at 37℃, via a Stryer catheter, under radiological imaging. Two types of gels were tested. A physical gel composed of F127 Pluronic micelles was injected at 4℃, but warmed above the gelation temperature immediately after reaching the aneurysm. The retention time of the gels was then probed by x-ray imaging with induced contrast. Mixtures of F127 copolymer with multipblock (n=6), PF127 were tested in order to optimize retention time and injection viscosity. The F127 group of polymers are non cell-adhesive, and may need further modification to promote endothelial migration. Gelatin, was mixed with matri-gel or fibrinogen, injected, and gelled 37℃, using MTG. Endothelization was found to be successful on this surface.

In this case, retention times in excess of 76 hours were determined. Even though both gelatin and Pluronic copolymers are presumed to be minimally thrombogenic, thrombus formation in both cases will be probed directly by circulation of platelet rich plasma across the aneurysm. 

Huntington senior Diya Rai-Gersappe
Huntington senior Diya Rai-Gersappe
Huntington senior Diya Rai-Gersappe's research project is vying in the LISEF contest
Huntington senior Diya Rai-Gersappe's research project is vying in the LISEF contest