Hee Jeung Oh
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering | Penn State
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Cancer is becoming the leading cause of death in most developed nations. Despite efforts to develop targeted and personalized cancer therapeutics, dosing of the cancer chemotherapeutics is limited by toxic side effects. During intra-arterial chemotherapy infusion to a target organ, typically, more than 50-90% of the injected drug is not trapped in the target organ and bypasses the tumor to general circulation, causing toxicities in distant locations. In the context of reducing the toxicity of chemotherapy, we have designed, built, and deployed porous adsorbers for capturing chemotherapy drugs before they spread through the body. The porosity was obtained by 3D printing of lattice structures. The surface of porous cylinders was coated with an ion-containing nanostructured block polymer which is responsible for capturing doxorubicin, a widely used chemotherapy drug with significant toxic side effects. Using a swine model, our initial design enables the capture of 69 % of the administered drug without any adverse effects. Additional improvement may be obtained by changing the chemical composition of the selective membrane layer and controlling the lattice structure and size with elastomers.
Dr. Hee Jeung Oh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. The Oh research group studies the relationship between polymer chemistry, processing, structure, and transport properties for separation science. Specifically, the Oh lab explores the influence of polymer’s chemical and physical structures on transport properties such as sorption, diffusion, and permeation of small molecules in polymers and polymer-based materials. These fundamental studies are critical for membranes for liquid, gas and vapor separations, energy storage, selective removal of unwanted molecules from various chemical streams, biomedical devices, controlled drug-delivery, and barrier materials for food and packaging. Dr. Oh earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Dr. Oh completed her graduate training in Chemical Engineering working in Profs. Benny Freeman’s and Donald Paul’s research groups at the University of Texas at Austin, exploring a variety of polymeric materials for membrane-based separation. Her postdoctoral training, working in Prof. Nitash Balsara’s research group at UC Berkeley, focuses on designing porous nanostructured polymers for energy storage, as well as for a new emerging biomedical application, “drug capture,” to minimize toxic side effects of cancer chemotherapy drugs. Hee Jeung has 16 peer-reviewed publications and two patents and has been recognized with several awards including the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, Young Membrane Scientist Award from the North American Membrane Society (NAMS), and the University of Texas at Austin Professional Development Award.