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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Nazockdast, Ehssan
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Applied Physical Sciences

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biomaterials, Biophysics, Cell Biology, Computational Biology

We are interested in the physics of soft and squishy materials, especially the organization and mechanics of living cellular materials. We use theory and simulation in close collaboration with experiments to understand the complex structural and mechanical behavior of these systems. These questions and our approach to them are interdisciplinary and intersect several traditional fields, including cell biology, biophysics, fluid dynamics and applied mathematics.

Freeman, Ronit
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EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Applied Physical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biomaterials, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Drug Delivery, Drug Discovery, Nanomedicine, Translational Medicine

My lab focuses on developing bioinspired molecular constructs and material platforms that can mimic proteins and be programmed to respond to stimuli resulting from biomolecular recognition. Major efforts are directed to design peptide- and nucleic acid-based scaffolds or injectable nanostructures to create artificial extracellular matrices that can directly signal cells.

Superfine, Richard
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Applied Physical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biomaterials, Biophysics, Cell Biology, Computational Biology, Systems Biology

Superfine’s group studies stimulus-responsive active and living materials from the scale of individual molecules to physiological tissues, including DNA, cells and microfluidic-based tissue models. We develop new techniques using advanced optical, scanning probe, and magnetic force microscopy. We pursue diverse physiological phenomena from cancer to immunology to mucus clearance in the lung. Our work includes developing systems that mimic biology, most recently in the form of engineered cilia arrays that mimic lung tissue while providing unique solutions in biomedical devices.

Bai, Wubin
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biomedical Engineering

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biomaterials, Biophysics, Drug Delivery

Our research focuses on both fundamental and applied study of soft materials and nanomaterials, develop fabrication approaches to enable hybrid integration of multi-materials towards high-performance electronic and photonic systems, innovate new technology that can intelligently immerse electronics and photonics into biological systems, and create new tools and devices to address unmet clinical needs and improve human healthcare. Our lab fosters a collaborative environment that converges expertise/interests from various backgrounds including materials science and engineering, electrical engineering, physics, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and biomedical engineering. We provide hands-on learning, enjoy making practical tools, and aspire to transform scientific advancements into societal solutions.

Fenton, Owen

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pharmaceutical Sciences

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, Drug Discovery, Nanomedicine, Translational Medicine

The broad aim of research in the Fenton Laboratory is to develop and evaluate synthetic drug delivery platforms to treat neurodegenerative disorders in the brain using RNA therapeutics. RNA therapeutics represent a particularly promising class of therapeutics for neurodegenerative management given their ability to tune levels of specific protein expression in living systems. For example, protein downregulation can be achieved by administering short interfering RNAs (siRNAs); alternatively, proteins can be upregulated by messenger RNA (mRNA) administration. Despite this promise, fewer than 0.05% of the world’s clinically approved drugs are RNA therapeutics, and their translation to neurodegenerative disorders in the brain warrants further study at the fundamental and clinical levels.

To address these challenges, our group focuses on the discovery and development of molecular carriers and technology platforms to improve the targeting, safety, and efficacy of RNA drugs within target cells. Specifically, our group leverages an interdisciplinary approach to develop lipid nanoparticles (LNP) as well as soft matter hydrogel platforms that can serve as carrier systems and/or drug delivery models for RNA drugs. Further, our group also explores the development of technological platforms to further expand the potential of RNA drugs within resource limited settings. Lastly, given that mRNA drugs can be engineered to encode for virtually any polypeptide or protein based antigen, our group also aims to leverage our platformable LNP technologies for the study and prevention of cancers and infectious disease. In undertaking such an approach, the goal of our research is to equip students with fundamental skillsets for the development of next generation drugs while simultaneously developing clinically-relevant carrier platforms and technologies for the study, prevention, and treatment of human disease.

Benhabbour, Rahima
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, Nanomedicine, Pharmacology

Dr. Benhabbour’s academic research focuses on development of novel tunable delivery platforms and polymer-based devices to treat or prevent a disease. Her work combines the elegance of organic and polymer chemistry with the versatility of engineering and formulation development to design and fabricate efficient and translatable nanocarriers and drug delivery systems for cancer treatment and HIV prevention.

Dr. Benhabbour has also Founded her startup company Anelleo, Inc. (AnelleO) in 2016 to develop the first 3D printed intravaginal ring as a platform technology for women’s health.

Current technologies in development in Dr. Benhabbour’s Lab include:
– 3D Printed intravaginal ring technology: A) Multipurpose prevention technology (MPT) for prevention of HIV/STIs and unplanned pregnancy.
– Polymer based ultra-long-acting injectable implant for HIV prevention and treatment.
– Combinatory chitosan/cellulose nanocrystals thermoresponsive hydrogel system: A) Sub-Q or intraosseous injectable for treatment of osteoporosis; B) Bio-ink for 3D bioprinting; C) Scaffold for stem cell delivery (e.g. iNSCs for treatment of post-surgical glioblastoma.
– Mucoadhesive thin film for treatment of vulvodynia.
– Targeted nanoparticles and hydrogel scaffolds for treatment of NSCLC.

Lu, Zhiyue
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Chemistry

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biomaterials, Biophysics, Cell Signaling, Computational Biology, Drug Delivery, Systems Biology

Button, Brian
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biochemistry & Biophysics

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Biomaterials, Biophysics, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Drug Delivery, Drug Discovery, Nanomedicine, Pathology, Physiology, Systems Biology, Translational Medicine

The Button lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics is part of the Marsico Lung Institute. Our lab is actively involved in projects that are designed to define the pathogenesis of muco-obstructive pulmonary disorders and to identify therapies that could be used to improve the quality of life in persons afflicted by these diseases. In particular, our research works to understand the biochemical and biophysical properties of mucin biopolymers, which give airway mucus its characteristic gel-like properties, and how they are altered in diseases such as Asthma, COPD, and cystic fibrosis.

Nguyen, Juliane
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pharmaceutical Sciences

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, Immunology, Translational Medicine

The Nguyen lab develops the next generation of effective and safe biotherapeutics for life-threatening diseases such as cancer and myocardial infarction. We engineer novel immunomodulatory carriers based on genetically encoded materials and lipids that home to the site of disease, respond to changes in the microenvironment, and effectively deliver nucleic acids and drugs.

Polacheck, William
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Biomaterials, Cancer Biology, Cardiovascular Biology, Cell Biology, Translational Medicine

The Polacheck Lab develops microfluidic and organ-on-chip technology for disease modeling and regenerative medicine. Our efforts are organized around three primary research thrusts: 1) Developing humanized microphysiological models for inherited and genetic disorders; 2) Defining the role of biofluid mechanics and hemodynamics on the cellular microenvironment; 3) Understanding the role of cell-cell adhesion in the generation and propagation of cellular forces during morphogenesis. We further work to translate the technology and techniques developed in our lab into tissue engineered therapies for organ replacement and regenerative medicine.