The Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute and the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech will host Mark E. Davis, the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering at California Institute of Technology, as a Visiting Scholar from Nov. 1 to 5.

A former Virginia Tech faculty member, Davis is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. At Caltech, he is a member of the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center Experimental Therapeutics Program. "He is a world-renowned chemical and materials engineer and biomedical scientist," said S. Richard Turner, director of the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute.

Davis' lectures will address translational medicine, from conception to invention of new macromolecular systems -- from cellular and in vitro studies that first prove the concept to clinical trials that bring the new therapy to patients.

The aim of the visiting scholar activity is to enhance interdisciplinary interactions among the polymer and materials communities and the life science communities at Virginia Tech. Davis’ macromolecular materials research is based on the design and synthesis of new polymeric materials that allow assembly with therapeutic molecules. New systems that are prepared are studied at the cellular and animal levels at Caltech. Two systems developed in the Davis laboratory have been translated into materials currently in human clinical trials as new targeted cancer therapeutics.

Dates and lecture topics are

  • Monday, Nov. 1 - Introduction to Nanoparticle Medicines;
  • Tuesday, Nov. 2 - Requirements for Introducing Nanotherapeutics to Clinical Trials: Science to Compliance; and
  • Thursday, Nov. 4 - Nanotechnology Enabling Biotechnology: siRNA Nanomedicines.

 All of the lectures will be from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 310 of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science building on campus.

"The lectures are open to the entire Virginia Tech community. We also invite our neighboring academic and industrial students and scientists to join us for this wonderful learning opportunity," said Dennis Dean, director the Fralin Life Science Institute.

Davis will also be available to participate in informal discussions with faculty members and students. Contact Tammy Jo Hiner to schedule a meeting. Out of town visitors will find directions and a list of hotels on the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute website.

Davis is the recipient of numerous national and international awards including the E.V. Murphee Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry in 2005 and the Ipatieff Prize in 1995 from the American Chemical Society. He was the first engineer to receive the distinguished Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation. He is the founder of two companies in Pasadena, Calif., Insert Therapeutics Inc., which is researching and developing cyclodextrin-containing polymers for drug delivery applications, and Calando Pharmaceuticals Inc., which focuses on new RNAi therapeutics. Davis has more than 350 publications and holds 50 U.S. patents.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.


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