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Elijah Nyairo

elijah-picChemistry Instructor
Department of Physical Sciences
Phone: 334-229-6923

Research Interest

My research interest is in nanostructured biomaterials for bone tissue repair and regeneration. The goal of the project is to develop bioactive polymeric scaffolds from biodegradable polymers that mimic the functionality of native extracellular matrix (ECM). Scaffolds serve as temporary matrices that accommodate cells and support tissue regeneration. Scaffolds based on FDA approved biodegradable polymers and modified carbon nanofibers are fabricated using electrospinning to achieve improved mechanical properties, uncompromised cell growth and facilitate repair of damaged tissue. A nanoscaled hydroxyapatite (HA) coating is electrophoretically deposited onto the composite nanofibers to further promote bioactivity and osteoconductivity. The response of human mesenchymal stem cells to the scaffolds and the release characteristics of bone morphogenic proteins adsorbed onto the HA surface is currently under investigation. My secondary research interest is developing nanobiomaterials for drug delivery. This study is aimed at understanding the mechanism involved in the adsorption and release of therapeutics in a controlled manner from nanofiber polymer scaffolds. Scaffolds are fabricated by electrospinning polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) encapsulated with varying concentrations of detonated nanodiamonds (DND). The surface energy of the DND’s makes it relatively straightforward to adsorb or covalently attach therapeutic molecules. We have shown in our laboratory that drugs encapsulated into the nanofibers alone exhibit a burst release. Furthermore, the toxicity of the DND’s to several different cell lines has shown little compromise in the cell’s viability at low DND concentrations.  It is anticipated that the DND’s will help us achieve a more sustained release. Thus, this research focuses on the potential use of DND to deliver therapeutics and the compatibility concerns with using carbon based nanomaterials (i.e., cytotoxicity)

Learn more (.pdf) about Nyairo's research.


  1. Keith J. Green, Derrick R. Dean, Elijah Nyairo and Pamela Legget-Robinson. “The Effect of High Shear Mixing on the Alignment of Carbon Nanofiber/Epoxy Nanocomposites”. Journal of Polymer & Composites Vol 2, 1 (2014) 9-18
  2. Amanee D. Salaam, Manoj Mishra, Elijah Nyairo and Derrick R. Dean. “Electrospun polyvinyl alcohol/nanodiamond composite scaffolds: morphological, structural, and biological analysis”. Journal of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering 4,3 (2014) 173-180
  3. James A. Stokes III, Udai P. Singh, Elijah Nyairo, Manoj K. Mishra. Resveratrol and its impact on Prostate Cancer”. International Journal of Advanced Biotechnology and Bioinformatics (2014) – In Press
  4. Alyssa B. Terry, Amanee D. Salaam, Elijah Nyairo, Vinoy Thomas, Derrick R. Dean. “PLGA Nanoparticles for the Sustained Release of Rifampicin”. Journal of Nanogenomics and Nanomedicine (2013) – In Press
  5. Himani D. Deshpande, Derrick R. Dean, Vinoy Thomas, William C. Clem, Moncy V. Jose, Elijah Nyairo, Manoj Mishra. ”Carbon nanofiber reinforced polycaprolactone fibrous meshes by electrostatic co-spinning”. Current Nanoscience 8, 5 (2012) 753-761
  6. Zaynah Welcome, Hongzhuan Wu, Elijah Nyairo, Christian Rogers, Derrick Dean, Kennedy Wekesa, Karyn Gunn, Robert Villafane. “Cytotoxicity and Cell adhesion Properties of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Electrospun Nanofiber Polymer Scaffolds”. International Journal of Advanced Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Vol 1, 1 (2012) p 41-47
  7. Renu Bhatt, Vinoy Thomas, Derrick Dean, Elijah Nyairo, Manoj Mishra “Role of PPARs as Chemotherapeutics and Anticancer Molecules”. International Journal of Advanced Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Vol 1, 1 (2012) p 11-18
  8. Himani Deshpande, Carrie Schindler, Derrick Dean, William Clem, Elijah Nyairo, Manoj Mishra, Vinoy Thomas “Nanocomposite scaffolds based on electrospun PCL/CNF/HA by electrosphoretic deposition”. Journal of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering    Vol. 1, (2011) 177-184
  9. Vinoy Thomas, Thomas Donahoe, Elijah Nyairo, Derrick R. Dean, Yogesh K. Vohra. (2011) “Electrospinning of Biosyn® Based Tubular Conduits: Structural, Morphological, and Mechanical Characterizations”. Acta Biomaterialia 7, 5 (2011) 2070–2079
  10. Moncy V. Jose, Vinoy Thomas, Yuanyuan Xu, Susan Bellis, Elijah Nyairo, Derrick Dean “Aligned Bioactive Multi-Component Nanofibrous Nanocomposite Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering”. Macromolecular Biosciences 10, 4 (2010), 433-444 
  11. Abdalla M, Dean D, Theodore M, Fielding J, Nyairo E, Price G “Magnetically Processed Carbon Nanotube/Epoxy Nanocomposites: Morphology, Thermal and Mechanical Properties”. Polymer 51, 7 ( 2010) 1614-1620
  12. Green K J, Dean D, Vaidya U K, Nyairo E. “Multiscale fiber reinforced composites based on a carbon nanofiber/epoxy nanophased polymer matrix: Synthesis, mechanical and thermomechanical behavior”. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing 40, 9 (2009) 1470-1475
  13. Jose M V, Thomas V, Dean D, Nyairo E. “Fabrication and characterization of aligned nanofibrous PLGA/Collagen blends as bone tissue scaffolds”. Polymer 50, 15 (2009) 3778-3785
  14. Jose M V, Thomas V, Johnson K, Dean D, Nyairo E. “Aligned Nanofibrous PLGA/HA as Nanofibrous Nanocomposite Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering”. Acta Biomaterialia 5, 1 (2009) 305-315
  15. Abdalla M, Dean D, Robinson P, Nyairo E. “Cure Behavior of Epoxy/MWCNT Nanocomposite: The Effect of Nanotube Surface Modification”. Polymer 49, 15 (2008) 3310 – 3317
  16. Abdalla M, Dean D, Adibempe D, Nyairo E, Robinson P, Thompson, G. “The Effect of Interfacial Chemistry  on Molecular Mobility and Morphology of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Epoxy Nanocomposite”. Polymer 48, 19 (2007) 5662 – 5670
  17. Jose M V, Dean D, Tyner J, Price G, Nyairo E. “Polypropylene/Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposite Fibers: Process-Morphology-Property relationships”. J Appl Polym Sci, 103, 6 (2007) 3844 – 3850
  18. Thomas V, Jagani S, Johnson K, Jose M V, Dean D, Vohra Y, Nyairo E. “Electrospun Bioactive Nanocomposite Scaffolds of Polycaprolactone and Nanohydroxyapatite for Bone Tissue Engineering”. J Nanosci Nanotechnol 6, 2 (2006) 487– 493
  19. Dean D, Obore A M, Richmond S, Nyairo E. “Multiscale Fiber-Reinforced Nanocomposites: Synthesis, Processing and Properties”. Compos Sci Technol, 66, 13 (2006) 2135 – 2142
  20. Dean D, Walker R, Theodore M, Hampton E, Nyairo E. “Chemorheology and Properties of Epoxy/Layered Silicate Nanocomposites”. Polymer 46, 9 (2005) 3014 – 3021


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