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Stephany Tzeng receives SFB 2013 Outstanding Research Award

January 9, 2013

Stephany Tzeng, JHU Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student in the School of Medicine, has been selected to receive the prestigious 2013 Student Award for Outstanding Research (Ph.D. category) from the Society For Biomaterials (“SFB”). As stated in the SFB announcement letter, “This prestigious award is specifically given ‘to student researchers who have shown outstanding achievement in biomaterials research.’” The award will be presented at SFB’s annual meeting in Boston, MA in April 2013. In addition to Stephany receiving a certification of the award, support up to $500 for travel to the meeting and a complimentary meeting registration, SFB has advised that “An abstract of her work will be published in the Transactions of the Society For Biomaterials 2013 Annual Meeting, and her award winning manuscript will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Part A.”

Stephany is a student in the lab of Dr. Jordan Green, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, the Wilmer Eye Institute, the Institute for Nanobiotechnology, and the Translational Tissue Engineering Center of the JHU School of Medicine. Dr. Green nominated Stephany for her research on non-viral gene therapy, and in particular, biomaterial-mediated cancer-specific gene delivery to liver cancer cells. This work shows that though modifications to biodegradable polymer structure, polymeric nanoparticles can be formulated that deliver DNA selectively and with high efficacy to hepatoma cells over co-cultured hepatocytes and that these materials are also non-toxic to healthy hepatocytes. Their results suggest that these polymeric nanoparticles may be a promising strategy for the treatment of liver cancer. Stephany has also shown outstanding achievement in biomaterials research in her previous publications including research published in Biomaterials, the International Journal of Nanomedicine, and Advanced Healthcare Materials that have explored topics in brain cancer therapy and regenerative medicine.

Dr. Green stated that, “Stephany has shown that biomaterial structure alone, without a targeting ligand or transcriptional targeting, can mediate liver cancer specific gene delivery in a liver co-culture with healthy hepatocytes. Her high efficacy, 98% positively transfected cells, is amazing and motivates future in vivo work with these non-viral materials.”

SFB is a professional society which promotes advances in biomedical materials research and development by encouraging cooperative educational programs, clinical applications and professional standards in the biomaterials field.

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