Translating Molecular Bioengineering from the Lab to the Patient

Friday, February 20, 2015 - 2:00pm
Fung Auditorium, Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall
Ashutosh Chilkoti

Theo Pilkington Professor, Chair of Department of Biomedical Engineering
Duke University

Translating Molecular Bioengineering from the Lab to the Patient


This talk will highlight recent work from my laboratory that illustrates the clinical translation of molecular bioengineering technologies for point-of-care clinical diagnostics and drug delivery for the diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes and cancer. In the first example, I will discuss a point-of-care diagnostic that we have developed, in which all reagents are printed and stored on a “non-fouling”—protein and cell resistant—polymer brush. The D4 assay, involves four sequential events: (1) Dispense (droplet of blood); (2) Dissolve (printed reagents on chip); (3) Diffuse (across surface); and (4) Detect (binding event). Examples of quantitative dose-response from whole blood and the integration of the assay with a smart phone compatible detector will be presented. The D4 assay can be used for the diagnosis of cardiac markers with a speed and sensitivity that is as good or better than commercially available point-of-care tests and is far simpler, cheaper more rugged, and does not require a cold-chain. In the area of drug delivery, I will highlight two technologies with broad applicability. In the first design, I will describe an injectable delivery system—Protease Operated Depot (POD)—based on thermally sensitive polypeptides for the sustained and tunable release of peptide drugs from a subcutaneous injection site. In the second example, I will discuss a general method, attachment-triggered self-assembly of recombinant peptide polymers that packages small hydrophobic molecules into soluble polymer nanoparticles. Because many cancer chemotherapeutics are insoluble small molecules with poor bioavailability, this approach has great utility to increase the solubility, plasma half-life and tumor accumulation of many cancer chemotherapeutics.


Ashutosh Chilkoti is the Theo Pilkington Professor and the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. He received his B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in 1985, a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1991, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington from 1992 to 1995. His research in biomolecular engineering and biointerface science focuses on the development of new molecular tools that span molecular biology, protein engineering, polymer chemistry and surface science, and the application of these tools for the development of applications that span the range from bioseparations, plasmonic biosensors, low-cost clinical diagnostics, and drug delivery.