Wyss faculty member Neel Joshi, Ph.D., today received a Milton Fund award to pursue development of a novel approach to site-specific drug delivery. If successful, the proposed technology could lead to effective new diagnostics and therapies for patients with vascular disorders, such as arterial bleeding and vessel narrowing due to clots, plaque, and stenosis.
The $40,000 award will help determine the feasibility of a protein-based nanodevice that is activated by high shear forces in the human circulatory system, which typically indicate vascular problems. Inspired by the mechanism of a natural clotting agent, the protein-based device would bind to and transport a drug through the bloodstream until encountering sites of high shear, which would trigger it to unfold and release its cargo.
The design of the device will be guided by the simultaneous development of a mathematical model that predicts the optimal device parameters for different shear forces. This information will then be used to create a prototype and demonstrate its efficacy using a microfluidic chamber that mimics a blood vessel.
The planned project builds on Dr. JoshiÍs ongoing work at the Wyss where he is combining elements of synthetic chemistry, biology, and materials science to develop new technologies with self-healing and self-assembling properties that can be used to address problems in medical imaging, tissue engineering, and drug delivery.
He is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard, who has authored more than 10 publications and holds two patents. He joined the Wyss Institute in January 2010.
The William F. Milton Fund , which is open to Harvard faculty members, funds new and original projects in the fields of medicine, geography, history, and science. The winning projects must either promote the physical and material welfare of the human race or investigate and determine the value and importance of a discovery or invention.