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March 31, 2015

Reilly Lecture: Advances in siRNA and Protein Delivery Through Smart Polymers

Engineering the molecular design of intelligent biomaterials by controlling structure, recognition and specificity is the first step in coordinating and duplicating complex biological and physiological processes. Recent developments in siRNA and protein delivery have been directed towards the preparation of targeted formulations for protein delivery to specific sites, use of environmentally-responsive polymers to achieve pH- or temperature-triggered delivery, usually in modulated mode, and improvement of the behavior of their mucoadhesive behavior and cell recognition. We address design and synthesis characteristics of novel crosslinked networks capable of protein release as well as artificial molecular structures capable of specific molecular recognition of biological molecules. Molecular imprinting and microimprinting techniques, which create stereo-specific three-dimensional binding cavities based on a biological compound of interest can lead to preparation of biomimetic materials for intelligent drug delivery, drug targeting, and tissue engineering. We have been successful in synthesizing novel glucose- and protein-binding molecules based on non-covalent directed interactions formed via molecular imprinting techniques within aqueous media. We have also developed structurally superior materials to serve as effective carriers for siRNA delivery to combat Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

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April 1, 2015

Reilly Lecture: Nanotechnology and Bioengineering in an Evolving Chemical Engineering World

Nanotechnology and Bioengineering, have evolved out of chemical engineering because of the need to address important societal problems. Emphasis in such areas has led to the solution of complex chemical engineering problems that required non-newtonian flows, non-ideal thermodynamics, multicomponent systems, macromolecular analysis and diagnostic/intelligent responsive systems. The introduction of these fields brought up also an emphasis on translational research, product engineering, development of devices/systems and processes and an associated emphasis on applications and commercialization. An unfortunate result of these changes was a shift of Chemical Engineering from fundamentals to applied sciences. I examine the underlying reasons for this shift, with emphasis on changes in societal needs in the 1970s to translational research that started in the late 1980s. I examine the impact of these changes on ChE education, including the academic shift towards applied sciences and the de-emphasis of fundamentals. We address new educational and research directions that will provide a corrective path towards convergence in Chemical Engineering.

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