April Kloxin

April Kloxin


Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Email : akloxin@udel.edu
Phone : (302) 831-3009
207 Colburn Lab


Our research group seeks to design dynamic materials and to use them to understand and direct important biological signals in tissue regeneration and disease. We design materials to mimic soft tissues and whose properties can be modified at any location and time. These novel 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.


  • Komen Career Catalyst Research Award 2016
  • University of Delaware Research Foundation Strategic Initiatives Award 2014
  • Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences 2013
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award 2013
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund Collaborative Research Grant & University of California, Davis Visiting Scholar 2013
  • University of Delaware Research Foundation Award 2012
  • Western Association of Graduate Schools Innovation in Technology Award 2010
  • Max S. Peters Outstanding Graduate Research Award 2009
  • Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Award, ACS Polymer Chemistry 2008
  • US Department of Education’s GAANN Fellowship 2005-2009
  • NASA Graduate Student Research Program Fellowship 2005-2008

Research Interests

Designing dynamic materials

We are synthesizing materials, especially hydrogels, whose properties can be altered at any position or time. These property changes are induced with user controlled triggers, such as light or enzymes. These materials enable the selective alteration of properties for applications of interest, such as dynamic cell culture, therapeutic delivery, and regenerative medicine.

Understanding and directing complex tissue regeneration

We seek to understand key microenvironment cues in tissue regeneration, especially tissue interfaces. We utilize responsive materials to control chemical and physical cues, such as cytokines, integrin-binding ECM mimics, and modulus, to examine their individual and synergistic effects on cell function. We subsequently translate these findings to improve regeneration strategies. Problems of interest include the regeneration of the bone-ligament interface for enhanced anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and of bone in patients with congenital or chronic disease.

Examining matrix regulation of cell quiescence, activation, and fate in disease

The extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a critical role in regulating cell quiescence and activation in tissue homeostasis and repair. However, when misregulated, disease can be permitted or promoted. We are examining the role of the ECM and its remodeling in disease, especially in breast cancer cell dormancy and re-activation and fibrosis. Additionally, we are utilizing extracellular and intracellular cues to direct cell differentiation for the creation of improved disease models.

Representative Publications

AM Hilderbrand, EM Ovadia, MS Rehmann, PM Kharkar, C Guo, AM Kloxin, “Biomaterials for 4D stem cell culture,” Current Opinion in Solid State Materials, 20, 212-224, 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.cossms.2016.03.002

MS Rehmann, JI Luna, E Maverakis, AM Kloxin, “Tuning microenvironment modulus and biochemical composition promotes human mesenchymal stem cell tenogenic differentiation,” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 104, 1162–1174, 2016. DOI: 10.1002/jbm.a.35650

PM Kharkar, MS Rehmann, KM Skeens, E Maverakis, AM Kloxin, “Thiol–ene click hydrogels for therapeutic delivery,” ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering, 2, 165–179, 2016. DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.5b00420

PM Kharkar, KL Kiick, AM Kloxin, “Design of thiol- and light-sensitive degradable hydrogels using Michael-type addition reactions,” Polymer Chemistry, 6, 5565-5574, 2015. DOI: 10.1039/C5PY00750J Special Issue: Emerging Investigators

LA Sawicki, AM Kloxin, “Design of thiol–ene photoclick hydrogels using facile techniques for cell culture applications,” Biomaterials Science, 2, 1612-1626, 2014. DOI: 10.1039/c4bm00187g

PM Kharkar, AM Kloxin, KL Kiick, “Dually degradable click hydrogels for controlled degradation and protein release,” Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2, 5511-5521, 2014. DOI: 10.1039/C4TB00496E Featured on the front cover of the issue

ME Smithmyer, LA Sawicki, AM Kloxin, “Hydrogel scaffolds as in vitro models to study fibroblast activation in wound healing and disease,” Biomaterials Science, 2, 634-650, 2014. DOI: 10.1039/C3BM60319A

PM Kharkar, KL Kiick, AM Kloxin, “Designing hydrogels for orthogonal control of degradable cell microenvironments,” Chemical Society Reviews, 42, 7335-7372, 2013. DOI: 10.1039/C3CS60040H

AM Kloxin, JA Benton, and KS Anseth, “In situ elasticity modulation with dynamic substrates to direct cell phenotype,” Biomaterials, 33, 1-8, 2010.

AM Kloxin, AM Kasko, CN Salinas, and KS Anseth, “Photolabile hydrogels for dynamic tuning of physical and chemical properties,” Science, 324, 59-63, 2009.