Environmentally Responsive Polymers for Drug Targeting and Controlled Release

Craig Duvall, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Biomedical Engineering Vanderbilt University
Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 4:30pm

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The Duvall Advanced Therapeutics Laboratory specializes in innovative design of smart polymer-based technologies for: (1) intracellular delivery of biological drugs such as peptides and nucleic acids, (2) proximity-activated targeting of drugs to sites of inflammation and matrix remodeling, and (3) long-term, “on-demand” drug release from localized depots. These delivery systems are designed to improve the therapeutic index of existing drugs and/or to serve as enabling technologies for manipulation of intracellular targets currently considered to be “undruggable”. To achieve optimal, finely-tuned properties for these varied biomedical applications, polymers are utilized that respond to one or more environmental stimuli including pH, matrix metalloproteinases, reactive oxygen species, and temperature.  This talk will focus primarily on cardiovascular drug delivery projects aimed at increasing longevity of autologous vascular bypass transplants, promoting vascularization of tissue engineering scaffolds, and improving limb survival and recovery following ischemic injury.


Dr. Duvall completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky in 2001 and immediately started his doctoral studies in BME at Georgia Tech and Emory University. His Ph.D. work was jointly directed by Bob Guldberg, a mechanical/biomedical engineer from Georgia Tech, and Bob Taylor, a cardiologist from Emory. In 2007, Dr. Duvall joined the polymeric drug delivery technology labs of Patrick Stayton and Allan Hoffman in Bioengineering at the University of Washington for postdoctoral research. Based on the foundations built from these combined experiences, the Duvall Advanced Therapeutics Laboratory (ATL) was launched in the Vanderbilt Biomedical Engineering Department in January, 2010.  The ATL is funded by grants from NIH, DOD, NSF, and AHA