Pharmaceuticals save lives, alleviate suffering, and are highly cost effective compared to other treatments. In the Petit Institute, researchers seek to further improve pharmaceuticals through research on drug design, drug development and drug delivery.
Our research on drug design emphasizes making new drugs to treat cancer, AIDS, bacterial infections, and other diseases. These new drugs are synthesized at Georgia Tech and are being tested for optimal activity. Drug development involves novel processes to manufacture drugs using cells, enzymes and other biologically based approaches that increase purity and decrease cost. Much of this work occurs in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies in the context of a multi-university consortium lead by Georgia Tech. Drug delivery applies engineering technologies to make taking drugs easier, more effective and less frequent for patients. A leading project in this area involves the use of painless microneedle patches that are being moved into clinical trials for influenza vaccination and insulin delivery to diabetics. Through this work we will impact healthcare by making pharmaceuticals more effective, less expensive and more convenient for patients.
Petit Institute researchers have developed innovative educational programs for students interested in pharmaceuticals. Every year, undergraduate and graduate students from multiple departments in the sciences and engineering can take the class Drug Design, Development and Delivery, which presents students with a holistic view of the field of pharmaceuticals, including technical and non-technical aspects, and features a series of four real-drug case studies led by the students. Associated with the class is an optional week-long trip to tour the pharmaceutical industry in Puerto Rico, which is one of the leading sites of drug manufacturing in the world. In addition to seminars, lunchtime roundtable discussions and other activities, 10 – 15 doctoral students receive fellowships to support their pharmaceutical research.