Medical Engineering Special Seminar

Tuesday March 21, 2017 4:00 PM

Exploiting Physiological Cues to Engineer Drug Delivery in Skeletal and Gastrointestinal

Speaker: Sufeng Zhang, PhD, Langer Research Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Annenberg 105
Abstract: New biological discoveries and engineering technologies hold great promise in overcoming medical challenges, and when integrated, they shift the treatment paradigm towards better outcomes. Successful translation of biology into therapy requires a deep understanding of the physiological microenvironment at the diseased site, especially for disease-specific drug delivery systems. Tissue compositions alter significantly under pathological conditions compared with normal tissue at the genetic, molecular and cellular levels. These pathophysiological changes have been used as biomarkers for disease diagnosis; at the same time, they can be employed as instructive cues to anchor drug delivery systems. In this seminar, I will first present drug delivery systems that specifically target bone through chemical modification with bisphosphonates (a group of molecules that have high affinity to bone) and physical encapsulation with nanoparticles. Next, I will describe a novel approach using an inflammation-targeting hydrogel for local drug delivery in inflammatory bowel disease, a set of chronic inflammatory disorders in the gastrointestinal tract. The in vivo validation of these engineered drug delivery systems in multiple animal models will also be discussed. Finally, I will describe future prospects of targeted drug delivery in the treatment of gastrointestinal and skeletal diseases.
Biography: Dr. Sufeng Zhang is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Institute Professor Robert Langer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Zhang's postdoctoral work focuses on targeted drug delivery for treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, particularly inflammatory bowel disease. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Her Ph.D. work developed drug delivery systems specifically to bone for skeletal regeneration. Dr. Zhang's research is focused on understanding the biological changes associated with disease types and disease states, and how to apply these pathophysiological features as cues in systems for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. Dr. Zhang has received several awards, including postdoctoral fellowships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).
Series: Medical Engineering Seminar Series
Contact: Christine Garske
For more information visit:
Division of Engineering and Applied Science