Georgia Institute of Technology

James Dahlman


 

Biography:

James Dahlman is an Assistant Professor in the Georgia Tech BME Department. He studied RNA design and gene editing as a post-doc with Feng Zhang at the Broad Institute, and received his PhD from MIT and Harvard Medical School in 2014, where he studied RNA delivery with Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson.

The Lab for Precision Therapies at Georgia Tech, also called the 'Dahlman Lab', works at the interface of drug delivery, nanotechnology, genomics, and gene editing. James has designed nanoparticles that deliver RNAs to the lung and heart; these nanoparticles have been used by over ten labs across the US to date. He has also developed targeted in vivo combination therapies; nanoparticles deliver multiple therapeutic RNAs at once, in order to manipulate several nodes on a single disease pathway. More recently, he developed a method to quantify the targeting, biodistribution, and pharmacokinetics of dozens to hundreds of distinct nanoparticles at once directly in vivo.

Finally, James uses molecular biology to rationally design the genetic drugs he delivers. He recently reported 'dead'  guide RNAs; these engineered RNAs can be used to simultaneously up- and down-regulate different genes in a single cell using Cas9.

James has won the NSF, NDSEG, NIH OxCam, Whitaker Graduate, and LSRF Fellowships, the Weintraub Graduate Thesis Award, and was recently named a Bayer Young Investigator and Parkinson's Disease Foundation Young Investigator. He has had significant help along the way. Besides having great scientific advisors, James has been lucky to mentor excellent students, including two that were finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship.

Research Keywords:

Drug delivery, nanotechnology, siRNA, miRNA, RNAi, CRISPR-Cas9, sgRNA, RNA design, multigene therapies, gene therapies

Research Affiliations:

Research Areas:

Research Interests:

In the Dahlman Lab, we focus on the interface between nanotechology, molecular biology, and genomics. We design drug delivery vehicles that target RNA and other nucleic acids to cells in the body. We have delivered RNAs to endothelial cells, and have treated heart disease, cancer, inflammation, pulmonary hypertension, emphysema, and even vein graft disease. Because we can deliver RNAs to blood vessels at low doses, sometimes we decide to deliver multiple therapeutic RNAs to the same cell at once. These 'multigene therapies' have been used to treat heart disease and cancer. Why is this important? Most diseases are caused by combinations of genes, not a single gene. We also rationally design the nucleic acids we want to deliver. For example, we re-engineered the Cas9 sgRNA to turn on genes, instead of turning them off. This enabled us to easily turn on gene A and turn off gene B in the same cell.

Karl Jacob


 

Biography:

Dr. Karl I. Jacob, a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering with a joint appointment in the G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on polymer physics and engineering, rheology, and mechanics of polymeric materials. His graduate work was in the area of numerical analysis of vibrating three-dimensional structures. He came to Georgia Tech from DuPont Corporation in 1995. His initial work at the DuPont Dacron Research Laboratory was in the area of fiber-reinforced composite materials and in the development and modeling of fiber spinning processes. He then moved to the DuPont Central Research and Development Department, where he was involved in molecular modeling, computational chemistry, and diffusion.

Dr. Jacob is a member of the American Academy of Mechanics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Sigma Xi Research Society, and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Francesca Storici


 

Research Affiliations:

Research Areas:

Research Interests:

DNA repair, Recombination, RNA-mediated DNA repair, Gene targeting, Gene therapy

Dinushka Herath


 

Biography:

I was born in Australia. I have lived in Atlanta, GA for more than 10 years now. I transfered this year from Clark Atlanta University. My major at Clark Atlanta is Chemistry. My major at Georgia Tech is Chemical Engineering.

Research Interests:

Bioinformatics Computational Chemistry Organic Chemistry

Ajit Yoganathan


 

Research Areas:

Research Interests:

Cardiovascular Biomechanics; Heart Valve Disease, Repair and Replacement; Cardiac imaging; Regenerative Medicine; Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering

Francisco Robles


 

Research Affiliations:

Research Areas:

Research Interests:

Biophotonics, microscopy, spectroscopy, interferometry, holography, molecular imaging, non-linear optics

We focus on developing and applying label-free linear and nonlinear optical methods, along with advanced signal processing methods, to gain access to novel forms of functional and molecular contrast for a variety of biomedical applications.

Blair Brettmann


 

Biography:

Blair Brettmann received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. She received her Master's in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT in 2009 following internships at GlaxoSmithKline (Upper Merion, PA) and Mawana Sugar Works (Mawana, India). Blair received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at MIT in 2012 working with the Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing under Prof. Bernhardt Trout. Her research focused on solid-state characterization and application of pharmaceutical formulations prepared by electrospinning. Following her Ph.D., Blair worked as a research engineer for Saint-Gobain Ceramics and Plastics for two years. While at Saint-Gobain she worked on polymer-based wet coatings and dispersions for various applications, including window films, glass fiber mats and architectural fabrics. Later, Blair served as a postdoctoral researcher in the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago with Prof. Matthew Tirrell.

Research Keywords:

Continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing, roll-to-roll coatings and films, electrospinning, polymer science, molecular engineering, surface and interfacial science, charged polymers, biomedical coatings

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Research Interests:

Blair's current research interests focus on rational design of functional advanced materials through understanding of interactions in multicomponent mixtures on the molecular scale, both at equilibrium and during processing. Her research group designs and studies new processing and characterization technologies using both experiments and theory, focusing on linking molecular to micron scale phenomena in complex systems to product performance. Application areas include pharmaceutical product development, renewable bioproducts and polymer composites.

Peng Qiu


 

Biography:

Peng Qiu received his B.S. degree from the University of Science and Technology of China, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Maryland College Park, both in electrical engineering. After spending three years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Stanford, and three years as an assistant professor in the Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, he joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.

Research Keywords:

Bioinformatics and computational biology, machine learning, data integration, progression analysis, single-cell analysis, flow cytometry

Research Interests:

His main research interests are in the area of bioinformatics and computational biology, focusing on machine learning, visualization, signal processing, systems modeling and network analysis.

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