McGee Lecture Series

The Henry A. McGee Lectures in Chemical and Life Science Engineering honors the founding dean of VCU’s School of Engineering, Dr. Henry McGee, who is also a distinguished Emeritus professor in the Chemical and Life Science Engineering department. The lecture series is made possible by the Betty Rose and Henry McGee Endowment for Chemical Engineering. Details about Dr. Henry McGee can be found here.

The 2017 Henry A. McGee lecture took place April 12, 2017. The Speaker for this year's Henry A. McGee Lecture series is Robert Prud'homme, Ph.D., a professor and the director of the Biological Engineering Program at Princeton University.


Scaleable processing for difficult-to-deliver therapeutics: hydrophobic drugs, peptides and soluble biologics, and targeted delivery

We will present three themes that focus on our Flash NanoParticle platform.

1) Hydrophobic drug compounds: Hydrophobic drugs present unique opportunities for treatment of solid tumor cancers and for providing sustained release and targeting. A challenge in the field has been to create robust and reproducible processes to assemble these nanoparticles in a way that can scale from milligram quantities in research to kilogram quantities in production. Our process --Flash NanoPrecipitation – a controlled precipitation process produces stable nanoparticles at high concentrations using ambiphilic diblock copolymers to direct self-assembly. The key to the process is the control of time scales for micromixing, polymer self-assembly, and particle nucleation and growth. While milling can produce small particles, the unique feature of our process is the ability to produce multifunctional nanoparticles from hydrophobic actives, imaging agents, and targeting ligands in a single step. The PEG protective layer creates long-circulating particles and the inclusion of PEG chains with terminal ligands enables drug targeting. The incorporation of gold nanoparticles, magnetic nanoparticles, PET donors, or fluorophores into the composite particle enables imaging by x-ray, MRI, PET or confocal microscopy, and photoacoustic imagining. The use of hydrolytically unstable linkers enables the controlled release of single and multiple drugs from nanoparticles to create “drug cocktails” in a way that has not been possible previously.

2) Targeted delivery: The ability to perform all the of the difficult synthesis and purification on the stabilizing block copolymer, allows the preparation of a range of quantifiable ligand densities, and variable ligand densities in a morning. We will demonstrate targeting to macrophages in TB using mannose groups, and using larger Centryin constructs to more specifically target.

3) Protected delivery and sustained release of peptides, soluble antibiotics, and biologics. We have developed a new inverse FNP process that has enabled the encapsulation of 75 wt actives in 130 nm particles. The encapsulation efficiency is over 90%. These are an order of magnitude superior to the traditional w/0/w approaches to deliver these systems. The high loading enables either direct injection, or assembly of injectable depot delivery to produce 10-100 micron carriers by lightly aggregating the primary protected particle. We will present this new technology.

About the speaker

Robert K. Prud'homme is a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University and was the founder and Director of the Engineering Biology Program at Princeton. He received his BS at Stanford University and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison under Professor Bob Bird. He has served on the executive committees of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Materials Science Division and the U.S. Society of Rheology and was the President of the U.S. Society of Rheology. He served as the chair of the Technical Advisory Board for Material Science Research for Dow Chemical Company, which directs Dow’s materials research programs, and he was on the Board of Directors of Rheometric Scientific Inc., the leading manufacturer of rheological instrumentation. He also served on the Nanotechnology Scientific Advisory Committee for BASF, which provided guidance for future trends in nanotechnology for the company. His awards include the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, Princeton School of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Teaching Award, the Sydney Ross Lectureship at RPI, the Bird,Stewart and Lightfoot Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, the Dinesh Shah lectureship at the University of Florida, and the Midland Macromolecular Institute Visiting Professor in Midland Michigan. He has been the organizer and Chair of the Gordon Conference on Ion Containing Polymers, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers Forum on Stimulation Fluid Rheology, in addition to organizing numerous sessions at AIChE, ACS, and SOR meetings. He directed the Princeton-University of Minnesota-Iowa State NSF NIRT Center on nanoparticle formation. His research interests include rheology and self-assembly of complex fluids. Systems of interest are biopolymer solutions and gels, surfactant mesophases, and polymer/surfactant mixtures. The goals of the studies are to understand how weak molecular-level interactions can be used to tune macroscopic bulk properties and phase behavior. Application of the work is directed at nanoparticle formation for the drug delivery, controlled release, targeting, and imaging.

Past speakers

2016 Gregory Stephanopoulos, Ph.D.
2015 Vicki L. Colvin, Ph.D.
2014 Benny D. Freeman, Ph.D.
2013 Mark E. Davis, Ph.D.
2012 Jay Keasling, Ph.D.
2011 Joseph M. DeSimone, Ph.D.
2010 Charles Liotta, Ph.D.