Duvall receives NSF Early Career award

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Craig L. Duvall has received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development grant.

Craig L. Duvall

The five-year, $500,000 grant – Polythioketal Hydrogel For SiRNA-Enhanced Regenerative Cell Therapies – will allow Duvall to continue research on advanced drug delivery systems designed to enhance the performance of stem cell therapies for use in tissue engineering, drug delivery and regenerative medicine.

Specifically, Duvall’s research is targeted at developing injectable hydrogels that contain adult stem/stromal cells, which are in plentiful supply and relatively easy to harvest, to promote wound healing in diabetic patients who are more susceptible to non-healing skin wounds.

The biomaterial has the potential to help hold stem cells in place at the wound, while simultaneously delivering a drug to the cells that will promote their survival, growth and wound regenerative function. It can be injected directly into the wound as a liquid that rapidly “gels” and then is slowly resorbed over time as the wound heals.

Outreach activities associated with this award will include participation in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Summer Institute (SSI) for Girls, at Harpeth Hall, a Nashville high school for girls. A new component of the SSI will be opportunities for longer-term contacts with girls who participate in the program, and career-related mentoring at Vanderbilt University.

Duvall joined the Vanderbilt engineering faculty in January 2010 from the University of Washington where he was a member of the bioengineering department. He earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 2007 at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

This research is sponsored by NSF’s Biomaterials program in the Division of Materials Research (Abstract award #1349604).

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering