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Renowned bioengineer Samir Mitragotri to join Harvard faculty

Samir Mitragotri, who develops novel methods of drug delivery is appointed as a joint faculty member of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering

(CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts) – Samir Mitragotri, a leading chemical- and bio-engineer who develops new techniques and materials for treating conditions such as diabetes, cancer and bleeding disorders, will join the faculty of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) as the Hiller Professor of Bioengineering. He is also appointed as the Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard’s Wyss Institute. Mitragotri is currently the Mellichamp Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is the founding director of the Center for Bioengineering.

Mitragotri, Ph.D., will join both faculties in July 2017.

In modern medical practice, needles and syringes are the most common way of administering macromolecular drugs. Mitragotri has developed pioneering technologies to noninvasively deliver medicines using skin patches. Skin is a tough barrier that usually prevents drug transport rather than facilitate it. Mitragotri conducted pioneering research on the barrier function of skin and developed techniques to successfully overcome it to allow delivery of biopharmaceutical drugs.

Mitragotri has also developed nanoparticles that can target tumors for the treatment of cancer, materials that can deliver proteins orally for diabetes, and synthetic analogs of blood components that can deliver medicines for bleeding disorders. Several of his inventions have been translated into clinical products.

“I am excited to join the faculties of SEAS and the Wyss Institute. Their interdisciplinary scholarly communities offer outstanding opportunities to advance bioengineering research and education,” Mitragotri said. “I am also looking forward to closely interacting with the communities at the Wyss Institute and Harvard Medical School to accelerate clinical and commercial translation of research.”

Frank Doyle, the John A. Paulson Dean of SEAS, said: “Samir will bring a unique combination of experiences – bioengineering research, university leadership, and entrepreneurial activities – which will accelerate our strategic partnerships with Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical School.”

Mitragotri’s research also emphasizes understanding transport processes of biomolecules across biological barriers.

“Fundamental understanding of biological barriers empowers us to develop knowledge-driven technologies to overcome them. We can’t fix what we don’t understand,” Mitragotri said.

“We are excited to have Samir Mitragotri join the Wyss Institute as a Core Faculty member. His impressive accomplishments and expertise will strongly interface and synergize with existing efforts towards advancing drug delivery at the Wyss Institute through biologically inspired engineering,” said Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., the Wyss Institute’s founding director.

Mitragotri received his undergraduate degree from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai and Ph.D. from MIT under the mentorship of Professors Robert Langer, Sc.D. and Daniel Blankschtein, Ph.D.

He is the author of more than 210 publications in the area of drug delivery and biomaterials, has given close to 500 invited and contributed presentations worldwide, and is an inventor on more than 150 pending or issued patents. He is a co-founder of several companies that are developing therapeutic or diagnostic products based on his inventions.

Mitragotri is an elected member of the National Academies of Engineering and Medicine, and elected fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Inventors, the Controlled Release Society, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. He is a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Bioengineering and Translational Medicine.

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