Biotechnology and Healthcare Category

Dr. Niren Murthy

Niren Murthy is an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology department of Bioengineering and leads an interdisciplinary research team fusing chemistry, nanotechnology, material sciences and bioengineering. He was previously a postdoctoral Fellow at University of California Berkeley with the Department of Chemistry from 2001 to 2003 and had graduated with the Ph.D. from University of Washington in 2001. His current research at Georgia Institute of Technology involves the development of “New Materials for the Delivery of Biotherapeutics”. He was recognized with the Cygnus Outstanding graduate student award by the Controlled Release Society and the 2003 Petit Fellowship by Georgia Institute of Technology. He has recently also been given the NSF Career Award in 2006 in recognition of his research work and potential for technological innovation.

Recently, Dr. Murthy has demonstrated that nanoparticles formulated from peroxalate esters and fluorescent dyes can image hydrogen peroxide in vivo with high specificity and sensitivity. They have several attractive properties for in vivo imaging, such as tunable wavelength emission (460–630 nm), nanomolar sensitivity for hydrogen peroxide and excellent specificity for hydrogen peroxide over other reactive oxygen species. It is anticipated that numerous applications of peroxalate nanoparticles for in vivo imaging of hydrogen peroxide would surface in the near future, given their high specificity and sensitivity and deep-tissue imaging capability. He has also developed a a new family of pH-sensitive called polyketals to treat a wide range of inflammatory diseases. They have several advantages over existing biodegradable polymers, including acid sensitivity and neutral degradation products.

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Dr. Anirban Maitra

Dr. Anirban Maitra obtained his medical degree from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at New Delhi, India in 1996. Subsequently, he completed a residency in Anatomic Pathology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas and a fellowship in Gastrointestinal &Liver Pathology at Johns Hopkins University before joining their faculty in 2002, where he currently is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Oncology at the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, and an affiliate faculty at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Current Molecular Medicine, and has received numerous awards for his research studies including the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the state of Maryland,  the Ramzi Cotran Young Investigator Award and the Benjamin Castleman Award from the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, and the Gordon Vawter Award, the Harry Neustein Award, the Lotte Strauss Award from the Society for Pediatric Pathology.  Dr. Maitra has authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications, and nearly 50 book chapters and invited reviews.    

Dr. Maitra is the Principal Investigator of an NIH-R01 funded laboratory that studies pancreatic cancer, a disease claiming the lives of ~33,000 patients each year in the United States, and over 200,000 individuals worldwide. Dr.Maitra's research goals are focused on the identification and preclinical validation of rational, cancer-specific therapies for pancreatic cancer. Unlike commonly used cytotoxic agents, "mechanism-based" strategies utilize specific biochemical differences between cancer and normal cells and thus, the effects of chemotherapy are selectively detrimental to cancer cells only. Dr.Maitra is also pursuing high-throughput approaches for identification of abnormal pancreatic cancer genes using cutting edge "gene chip"technologies. These chips allow scientists to query multiple genetic loci, including in some instances, the whole human genome, for abnormalities that are unique to pancreatic cancer but are not present in normal tissues. His third major area of research involves developing novel drug and gene delivery systems for pancreatic cancers, using targeted nanoparticles. Development of such non-viral delivery systems have the potential for enhancing therapeutic efficacy while restricting side effects. He has combined the use a traditional Indian medicine with modern technology in the development of novel nano-curcumin formulations. Curcumin is derived from turmeric which is widely used in India for its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.

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