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REU student contributes to important research on controlled drug delivery

pbrev.jpg Kris C. Wood, Paula T. Hammond, Daniel J. Schmidt

Brian J. Andaya, a former participant in the MIT Research Experience for Undergraduates program, is one of authors on a recently published paper in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA). During his summer as an REU student, Brian worked in the lab of Professor Paula Hammond and assisted with the research that led to this discovery. Kris C. Wood, the lead author on this paper, received his PhD in chemical engineering in 2007. Kris Wood first came to MIT as a participant in the 2001 REU program, while an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky, and he now works as a postdoctoral associate at the MIT Broad Institute. The paper, "Electroactive controlled release thin films," describes the development of a nanoscale thin-film that can be implanted in specific parts of the body and deliver controlled doses of medication. The films are constructed from layers of drug molecules and a charged pigment called Prussian Blue, which holds the drug molecules in place. The drugs are released from the film by remote application of a small electric field. The hope is that this film could be used to deliver drugs for diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and diabetes, and some day even deliver the medication by automatically sensing when it is needed.