Nanostructured polymers for targeted and responsive drug delivery

05/08/2014 - 4:00pm
Dr. Danielle Benoit, Distinguished Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester
Communicore, Room C1-4


The Therapeutic Biomaterials Laboratory at the University of Rochester focuses on the design of nanostructured polymers for tissue regeneration and drug delivery. In our drug delivery approaches, we are exploiting polymers formed using reversible-addition fragmentation chain transfer polymerizations (RAFT), a controlled, living polymerization strategy, to improve delivery of a variety of therapeutics. We employ bottom-up approaches to design polymer therapeutics to overcome delivery barriers via novel targeting and responsive delivery systems. Polymer therapeutics have numerous advantages for drug delivery, providing higher plasma drug concentrations, longer circulation half-lives, higher (up to 50-fold) concentrations of drug within target tissues than drug alone, enhanced stability of therapeutic molecules, reduced immunogenicity, and improved drug solubility properties. My talk will focus on synthetic methods utilized to develop targeted and responsive polymer therapeutics, as well as demonstration of biological efficacy in vitro and in vivo. Specifically, I will discuss two polymer therapeutic strategies: (1) a novel targeting approach to selectively deliver drugs to actively remodeling bone for the treatment of bone metabolic diseases, and (2) development of pH-responsive nanoparticle carriers (NPC) to treat oral biofilms.

Short Bio:

Danielle Benoit is the James P. Wilmot Distinguished Assistant Professor within the Department of Biomedical Engineering with appointments also in Chemical Engineering and the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Rochester.  She directs the Therapeutic Biomaterials Laboratory which specializes in the rational design of polymeric materials for regenerative medicine and drug delivery applications.  Her work has provided insights into the translation of tissue engineering strategies for bone allograft repair, development of pH-responsive nanoparticles for nucleic acid and small molecule drug delivery, and novel targeting strategies for bone-specific delivery of therapeutics.  Prof. Benoit received her undergraduate degree in Biological Engineering from the University of Maine and M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado, where she was mentored by Dr. Kristi Anseth. She then trained at the University of Washington where she was a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, working with Drs. Patrick Stayton and Allan Hoffman.  Prof. Benoit joined the faculty at the University of Rochester in 2010.  

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