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Craig Duvall

Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Biomedical Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

Research Overview: The Duvall Advanced Therapeutics Laboratory (ATL) specializes in design and application 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 benefit and safety 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, we develop polymers that respond to one or more environmental stimuli including pH, matrix metalloproteinases, reactive oxygen species, and temperature. The disease applications of our polymeric biomaterial and drug delivery technologies are broad, including increasing longevity and function of transplanted vascular grafts and cell-based therapies, promoting healing of chronic skin wounds, and developing improved breast cancer drugs.

Research Environment: The Duvall lab moved in summer 2017 to the new Engineering and Science Building (ESB) where we are co-localized with other BME faculty working in biomaterials, drug delivery, regenerative medicine, molecular and cellular sensing, immunoengineering, and mechanobiology. This collaborative research environment will contain all of the multidisciplinary expertise and equipment necessary to carry out cutting edge research across the full spectrum of synthesis, characterization, and biological testing of bio- and nano-materials.

ATL research website with more in-depth project descriptions:

Selected Publications

1. TA Werfel, S Wang, MA Jackson, TE Kavanaugh, MM Joly, L Lee, DJ Hicks, VM Sanchez, PI Gonzalez-Ericsson, KV Kilchrist, SC Dimobi, SM Sarett, DM Brantley-Sieders , RS Cook, CL Duvall. Selective mTORC2 inhibitor therapeutically blocks breast cancer cell growth and survival. Cancer Research. 2018 Apr 1;78(7):1845-1858. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-2388.

2. SM Sarett, TA Werfel, KV Kilchrist, DM Brantley-Sieders, CL Duvall. Lipophilic siRNA Targets Albumin in Situ and Promotes Bioavailability, Tumor Penetration, and Carrier-Free Gene Silencing. Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences. Published ahead of print July 24, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1621240114.

3. MA Jackson, TA Werfel, E Curvino, F Yu, TE Kavanaugh, SM Sarett, M Dockery, KV Kilchrist, A Jackson, TD Giorgio, CL Duvall. Zwitterionic Nanocarrier Surface Chemistry Improves siRNA Tumor Delivery and Silencing Activity Relative to Polyethylene Glycol. ACS Nano. 2017 Jun 27;11(6):5680-5696.

4. KR Beavers, TA Werfel, T Shen, TE Kavanaugh, KV Kilchrist, JW Mares, JS Fain, CB Wiese, KC Vickers, SM Weiss, CL Duvall. Porous Silicon and Polymer Nanocomposites for Delivery of Peptide Nucleic Acids as anti-microRNA Therapies. Advanced Materials. 2016 Sep;28(36):7984-7992. doi: 10.1002/adma.201601646.
5. MJ Uddin, TA Werfel, BC Crews, MK Gupta, TE Kavanaugh, PJ Kingsley, K Boyd, LJ Marnett, CL Duvall. Fluorocoxib A Loaded Nanoparticles Enable Targeted Visualization of Cyclooxygenase-2 in Inflammation and Cancer. Biomaterials. Volume 92, June 2016, Pages 71–80.
6. BC Evans, KM Hocking, MJ Osgood, I Voskresensky, J Dmowska, KV Kilchrist, CM Brophy, CL Duvall. Nano-polyplex MK2 Inhibitory Peptide Delivery Inhibits Vascular Graft Intimal Hyperplasia. Science Translational Medicine. 2015 Jun 10;7(291):291ra95.
7. KM Poole, CE Nelson, RV Joshi, JR Martin, MK Gupta, SC Haws, TE Kavanaugh, MC Skala, CL Duvall. ROS-Responsive Microspheres for On Demand Antioxidant Therapy in a Model of Diabetic Peripheral Arterial Disease. Biomaterials. 2015, (41): 166–175. PMC4274772.
8. MK Gupta, JR Martin, TA Werfel, T Shen, JM Page, CL Duvall. Cell Protective, ABC Triblock Polymer-Based Thermoresponsive Hydrogels with ROS-Triggered Degradation and Drug Release. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2014, 136 (42), 14896–14902. 
9. CE Nelson, AJ Kim, EJ Adolph, MK Gupta, F Yu, KM Hocking, JM Davidson, SA Guelcher, CL Duvall. Tunable Delivery of siRNA from a Biodegradable Scaffold to Promote Angiogenesis In Vivo. Advanced Materials. 2014 Jan;26(4):607-14. 
10. CE Nelson*, JR Kintzing*, A Hanna, JM Shannon, MK Gupta, CL Duvall. Balancing Cationic and Hydrophobic Content of PEGylated siRNA Polyplexes Enhances Endosome Escape, Stability, Blood Circulation Time, and Bioactivity in Vivo. ACS Nano. 2013, 7(10): 8870-8880.

Full Publication List:[Author]

Selected Awards

  1. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
  2. China-America Frontiers of Engineering (CAFOE) NAE Symposium Participant,
  3. Biomedical Engineering Society Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering
  4. Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award
  5. National Science Foundation CAREER Award
  6. Fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) - 2018
  7. Vanderbilt Chancellor's Faculty Fellow - 2018
  8. NIH Gene and Drug Delivery (GDD) study section standing member - 2018-2022