G. Thomas Passananti Professor of Pharmacology
Director, Penn State Center for NanoMedicine and Materials
Co-Leader, Experimental Therapeutics, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute
Penn State University College of Medicine
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17110
717 531 8964
1. Avella DM, Li G, Schell TD, Liu D, Zhang SS, Lou X, Berg A, Kimchi ET, Tagaram HR, Yang Q, Shereef S, Garcia LS, Kester M, Isom HC, Rountree CB, Staveley-O'Carroll KF. Regression of established hepatocellular carcinoma is induced by chemoimmunotherapy in an orthotopic murine model. Hepatology. 2012 Jan; 55(1):141-52.
2. Hankins JL, Fox TE, Barth BM, Unrath KA, Kester M. Exogenous Ceramide-1-phosphate Reduces Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated Cytokine Expression. J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 30; 286(52):44357-66.
3. Barth BM, Cabot MC, Kester M. Ceramide-based therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2011 Nov 1; 11(9):911-9.
4. Heakal Y, Kester M, Savage S. Vemurafenib (PLX4032): an orally available inhibitor of mutated BRAF for the treatment of metastaticmelanoma. Ann Pharmacother. 2011 Nov; 45(11):1399-405.
RESEARCH STORY A
Technical Fellow, Materials Research
Alcoa Technical Center;
Adjunct Professor of Materials Science and Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University
James Runt is currently Professor of Polymer Science in the MatSE Department at Penn State. Dr. Runt is the author of >180 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers. He is an editor of the ACS Professional Reference Series book: Dielectric Spectroscopy of Polymeric Materials: Fundamentals and Applications, and is a co-editor of the recent ACS Symposium Series book: Polymers for Energy Storage and Delivery: Polyelectrolytes for Batteries and Fuel Cells. He recently served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Macromolecules, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Dielectrics Society. Dr. Runt received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Penn State, the latter in Solid State Science (with a concentration in polymeric materials).
Broadband dielectric spectroscopy; polymer dynamics
Ion-containing polymers: electrolytes, ionomers
Segmented polyurethane and polyurea block copolymers
Hydrogen bonded polymer blends and solutions
Polymers with intrinsic microporosity (PIMs)
Crystalline polymers, from renewable resources
Nanoscale structure and morphology
Our group’s research is focused on three principle areas:
Polymers in energy applications; Polyurethanes and polyureas; Li ion battery electrolytes; Ionomers; Polymers of intrinsic microporosity; Blood-contacting polymers in biomedical devices; Polymer blends/alloys; High performance polymers.
Professor Colina obtained her Ph.D. at the North Carolina State University (2004) and her B.S. (1993) and M.Sc. (1994) at Simón Bolívar University. She was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been a faculty member at Simón Bolívar University and joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Pennsylvania State University as Associate Professor in July 2006. She won the 1999 Award for Outstanding Teaching Achievement (at the Assistant Professor level) at Simon Bolivar University, as well as several other awards from the Venezuelan's National Committees from the Development of Higher Education and for the Academic Advancement. She has several international collaborations and has presented the results of her research globally in more than 65 national and international conferences. She has published over 35 papers (including conference proceedings).
Professor Colina utilizes the fusion of materials and computational sciences to obtain solutions to problems that were previously intractable. This fusion creates the opportunity to engineer materials for applications to separations, sensors, microelectronics, drug delivery, and biomaterials. Her group uses materials theory, modeling and computer simulation, with methods ranging from molecular-based equations of state, with a rigorous statistical mechanics basis, to high-performance computer modeling. Her group also has a synergetic relationship with experimentalists, and several national and international collaborative programs, such as: The University of Manchester and Cardiff University, U.K. Professor Colina’s current areas of research fall into three areas. The first area aims for understanding the structure of nanoporous polymers (NPs) for use in applications that exploit their surface chemistry that can range from catalysis, sensors and gas storage to separations. The second area is the improvement of polymer-based processes by gaining a fundamental understanding of polymeric materials. She is developing new methodologies for predicting the effect of specific interactions (self and cross-association) of polymeric materials and their environment. The third area is certain aspects of human pathology associated with a number of diseases, such as hemophilia B and von Willebrand disease. She is studying the growth and dynamics of macromolecular aggregates when proteins dock in a highly orientated manner. Her research interests in this area span a wide range of applications, from structural biochemistry to biosensors.
- Latexes and suspensions
- Environmentally-friendly polymeric surfactants
- Targeting and releasing drugs
- Biomedical applications
1. Castro-Marcano, F., Olivera-Fuentes, C. and C. M. Colina, “Joule-Thomson Inversion Curves aand Third Virial Coefficients for Pure Fluids from Molecular-Based Models,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 47 (22), 8894–8905 (2008).
2. Hoffman, M., Colina, C. M., Harger, A. G., Arepally, G., Pedersen, L. and D. M. Monroe, “Tissue Factor Around Dermal Vessels has Bound Factor VII(a) in the Absence of Injury,” Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 5 (7),1403-1408 (2007).
3. Colina, C. M., Venkateswarlu, D., Duke, R., Perera, L. and L. G. Pedersen, “What Causes the Enhancement of Activity of FVIIa by Tissue factor?,” Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 4 (12), 2726-2729 (2006).
4. Colina, C. M. and K. E. Gubbins, “Vapor-Liquid-Liquid Equilibria of n-Perfluoroalkanes/Carbon Dioxide/n-Alkanes Ternary Mixtures,” J. Phys. Chem. B. 109, 2899-2910 (2005).
5. Walker, T. A., Colina, C. M., Gubbins, K. E. and R. J. Spontak, “Thermodynamics of Poly(dimethylsiloxane)/Poly(ethylmethylsiloxane) (PDMS/PEMS) Blends in the Presence of High-Pressure CO2,” Macromolecules, 37, 2588-2595 (2004).
James H. Adair
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Bioengineering
102 Steidle Building
James H. Adair is a Professor in Materials Science and Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. His research and teaching interests include biological-nanoscale particulates and phenomena, colloid and interfacial chemistry, material chemistry, powder characterization, and ceramic and metal powder processing. Dr. Adair received his B.S. in Chemistry and M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, all from the University of Florida. From 1981-1982, he was a Fulbright Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Western Australia in the Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition and the Royal Perth Hospital where he studied the biophysical chemistry origin of pathological biomineralization including human kidney stone disease. Dr. Adair was a faculty member from 1990 to 1997 at the University of Florida. He has also held research positions at Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio and the Materials Research Laboratory at Penn State. Dr. Adair is the author or co-author of over 185 publications, twelve patents, and several copyrights on computer software. He has been chair or co-chair of multiple symposia related to materials chemistry and colloid and powder processing science at American Ceramic Society and American Chemical Society national and international meetings. He is also the co-editor of ten books including the Handbook of Characterization Techniques for the Solid-Solution Interface. Dr. Adair has memberships in the American Ceramic Society and the World Academy of Ceramics as a Fellow, American Chemical Society, Materials Research Society, and the New York Academy of Sciences. He was elected as an Academician in the Science Division of the World Academy of Ceramics in 2005. He is past Chair of the Basic Science Division of the American Ceramic Society and has served in various capacities in the American Ceramic Society at both the local and national level. He was named one of the International Men of Achievement in 1996. Dr. Adair has also received recognition for his inventions by Battelle Memorial Institute, Cabot Corporation, the University of Florida, and The Pennsylvania State University.
Underpinning our research are the concepts and principles embedded in colloidal and interfacial chemistry. Our objectives in student education at both the undergraduate and graduate level is to integrate a fundamental understanding of materials science with colloid and interfacial chemistry. There are currently two research thrusts in the Particulate Materials Center, both with an aim toward nanomedical applications. The underlying science for both technologies resides in our currently unique ability to colloidally manipulate and process nanoscale (sub-50nm) particulates for drug/bioimaging applications and producing bulk nanograin materials and devices with focus toward reducing the scale of surgical instruments to the sub-100 micron regime. To put the latter effort in perspective, a conventional heart biopsy instrument via catheterization has a scale of 5mm. The drug delivery systems consist of bioresorbable calcium phosphate, nanoporous silica or titania, or calcium phosphosilicate particulates into which medically active substances including drugs, genetic material, peptides, proteins, and fluorescent molecules have been captured. The 2 to 50 nm particulates have been suspended in suspension up to 20 weight percent with resistance to aggregation obtained for up to 36 months. We are utilizing the colloidal understanding of the nanocomposite particles for applications ranging from the delivery of medically active agents to the fabrication of nanograin components and devices. Typical grain sizes produced in our zirconia ceramics are 50 70 nanometers while some of the nanograin metals have grain sizes at the 20 to 40nm scale. Thus, our research directed toward nanocolloids is yielding benefits across a broad spectrum of medical applications.
Erwin A. Vogler is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Bioengineering at The Pennsylvania State University where he is a member of the Materials Research Institute and the Huck Institute of Life Sciences. Prior to joining Penn State in 1999, he was employed as a Research Fellow/Project Manager at the Becton Dickinson Research Center located in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina from 1988 and Research Scientist at the Du Pont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware from 1980. He received a Ph. D. in Chemistry at Indiana University in 1979 (under supervision of Professor John Hayes, Nat. Acad. Sci.) where he also held a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Post-Doctoral Fellowship through 1980. His Ph. D. thesis work involved the application of physical organic chemistry to biogeochemical problems, developing methods to measure the intramolecular distribution of stable carbon isotopes within molecular fossils. His professional career has been henceforth characteristically interdisciplinary in nature.
Vogler’s interests in Biomaterials Surface Science developed early in his career at Du Pont where he applied electron spectroscopy to understand surface chemistry effects on bioadhesion. This experience expanded at Becton Dickinson Company where he managed a biomaterials surface science group focused on surface modification of polymers to improve material biocompatibility, especially as applied to blood-contacting medical devices. Erwin is an expert in the application of tensiometric (contact angle and wetting) techniques to biomaterials problems. A strong desire to teach and pursue fundamental problems in biomaterials drew Vogler back to academics. Penn State has provided a productive interdisciplinary research atmosphere where he has developed collaborative research programs in the biophysical chemistry of protein adsorption, blood coagulation, and orthopedic biomaterials. This latter program has blossomed into an application of bone tissue engineering to the study of fundamental problems in osteobiology and osteopathology, especially cancer in bone. Erwin has published more than 85 book chapters, major review articles, and scientific papers and holds 41 domestic/international patents. He serves on the editorial board of the journals Biomaterials and Biomaterials and Nanobiotechnology. Vogler teaches graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses in Biomaterials Surface Science, enrolling about 100 students annually. He is the 2005 recipient of the Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and has twice served as Faculty Marshal for the College of Engineering, escorting Student Marshals from the Department of Bioengineering for whom he served as mentor. Undergraduate students working under Vogler’s supervision frequently publish in scientific journals and pursue distinguished post-graduate education at prestigious universities. Post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists from Vogler’s group hold professorships at both domestic and international universities.
All aspects of biomaterials surface science, especially including:
Research applies fundamental colloid science and surface thermodynamic principles to biochemical and biophysical problems related to the behavior of biology at hydrated material surfaces that include protein adsorption, cellular adhesion, blood contact phenomenon, and the biocompatibility of artificial materials in vitro and in vivo. We seek to identify and quantify structure–reactivity relationships that connect surface chemistry, morphology, and energetics to vicinal water solvent properties that profoundly influence biochemistry occurring near surfaces immersed in biological fluids. Characterization and modification of surfaces for biomedical and biotechnological applications, especially toward development of novel devices and processes, is an important part of the experimental program. We specialize in the measurement of water-wetting properties of materials using automated tensiometric (contact angle and wettability) methods, especially to quantify time-and-concentration-dependent adsorption from aqueous solutions. Research leads us to develop phenomenological/quasi-thermodynamic models of complex biological events occurring near surfaces, and to test these models against experiment. A particular emphasis is the coagulation of blood on biomaterials that is a serious barrier to development of cardiovascular devices such as pumps, stents, and vascular grafts. We seek to resolve how biomaterial surfaces activate blood coagulation and use this information to engineer materials with improved hemocompatibility. Research is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary, involving faculty from the Materials Research Institute, The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, and the Penn State Cancer Institute. Cancer research focuses on breast cancer in bone.
Biomaterials is a new field of scientific endeavor compared to the established fields of biology, chemistry, and physics. Materials science, which itself is a synergistic application of these established fields, is melded with clinical science and medical arts to form the broad field of biomaterials science. Many of the most primitive questions underlying use of materials in medicine remain unanswered: How do biological cells/tissues adhere to material surfaces and what is the role of substratum surface chemistry/energy in adhesion? Why does blood form clots in contact with all known materials and can this be controlled? What is the role of proteins and protein adsorption in controlling biocompatibility? How does water influence properties materials in contact with the wet world of biology? Can we design materials that will heal into the human body to serve as augments and replacements for failed body parts? How can materials enable a higher level of human and veterinary healthcare? These are a few of the important open questions that make biomaterials an exciting field of study – and solutions to these questions will have tremendous socioeconomic value.
Vogler’s research seeks to answer to the above questions by probing the fundamental biophysical basis of biocompatibility. The goal is formulation of structure-property relationships that relate material surface chemistry and surface energy to the biological response to these materials when implanted into different physiological compartments. In other words, basic rules guiding synthesis, selection, or modification of materials for different biomedical and biotechnical application are sought that will enable prospective design/optimization of biomaterials. Successful outcomes of this endeavor will broadly impact use of materials in all situations where artificial materials contact biology.
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