Department of Biomedical Engineering-Distinguished Lecture Series 2019/20

Monday, September 23, 2019 to Tuesday, April 28, 2020
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
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Distinguished Lecture Series in Biomedical Engineering

The Distinguished Lecture Series in Biomedical Engineering is designed to bring innovative leaders in the biomedical engineering field to the WPI campus to meet our outstanding faculty and students, and visit our interdisciplinary research facilities in the heart of Central Massachusetts.

Monday, September 23th

  • Monday, September 23, 2019
    4:00pm to 5:00pm

    BME Distinguished Lecture Series: “Refillable Polymers for Drug Delivery in Chronic and Recurrent Disease” by Horst Von Recum, PhD, Professor, Case Western Reserve University


    Horst Von Recum, PhD
    Professor, Executive Vice Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
    President of Society for Biomaterials
    Case Western Reserve University

    Abstract: Controlled delivery of molecules has found its way into all walks of life from dishwasher detergent, to biomedical devices, to paint.  In biomedical applications controlled drug delivery is used to provide appropriate dosing of therapeutics to meet physiological need. For local drug delivery this also includes optimizing effects at the needed site, while bypassing some or all of the detrimental effects of systemic delivery. One of the major factors that researchers in this field have to work with is Fick’s First Law of Diffusion, namely that drug will follow a concentration gradient, which results in extremely rapid release in early time points follows by a longer period of much slower release. Often times this bi-phasic release is not sufficient to address the biomedical problem, leaving the investigator only limited capacity for adjustment of polymer properties to modify the Diffusivity term of Fick’s Law. The von Recum lab has been exploring the use of intentionally designed molecular interactions to add additional factors controlling the rate of drug release, namely adding a specific affinity between drug and polymer, making this interaction become the rate limiting step. This research field, termed “affinity-based drug delivery” is capable of reducing the burst phase and prolonging release from hours to days to months. In addition, such controlled delivery devices, once empty still maintain their molecular pockets, which can be refilled for additional therapeutic windows, and periods of delivery. In this work we will show applications ranging from device infection, cancer therapy, cardiovascular restenosis, and stem cell homing and proliferation in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Further we will show how such devices are capable of being refilled in vivo and demonstrate additional therapeutic windows. In closing we feel that the prolonged release, and refilling capacity of affinity-based drug delivery devices will open new fields of application previously not addressable by devices controlled by diffusion alone.


    Biography: Horst von Recum began his training in Chemical Engineering and in Biochemistry at Rice University, where he worked with Tony Mikos. For his PhD, Dr. von Recum attended the University of Utah where he studied under Sun Wan Kim on drug delivery and tissue engineering. Following that he had two different postdoctoral fellowships, first at MIT in Bob Langer’s lab, then at the University of Washington in Suzie Pun’s lab; studying stem cells and gene therapy. Since arriving at Case Western Reserve University in 2004, Dr. von Recum has been working on a range of projects delivering proteins and small molecule drugs for a number of therapeutic applications from tissue engineering, to cardiovascular disease to cancer.  He has over 40 peer-reviewed papers, including Biomaterials “Most Cited Article 2006-2010”, with over 3000 citations; as well as 6 book chapters, over 80 conference proceedings, and 50 invited presentations. He is Principal Investigator for multiple funded projects, including funding by the American Heart Association, NSF, and NIH;  where he has also been a regular reviewer. In 2017 he was the Chair for the Gordon Conference on Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering,  and in 2019 he became the President for the Society for Biomaterals.  He serves as an Associate Editor in Experimental Biology and Medicine, as well as on the board for 3 other journals. He was elected a Fellow to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in 2016.  In 2012 he and colleague Dr. Julius Korley founded Affinity Therapeutics, LLC to bring some of their basic science discoveries closer to commercial and clinical application.




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