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Peppas Delivers Prestigious Skalak Memorial Lecture at UCSD

Peppas _Skalak_Lecture

Nicholas Peppas delivers 2014 Memorial Skalak Lecture.

Professor Nicholas Peppas delivered the 2014 Richard Skalak Memorial Lecture in the Bioengineering Department of the University of California San Diego (UCSD) on Monday, February 3.

Peppas, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering with professorships in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering and the College of Pharmacy, runs the Laboratory of Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, and Bionanotechnology and is a pioneer in biomaterials and drug delivery.

His lecture Advances in Intelligent Hydrogels for Recognitive and Protein Delivery Systems focused on developments in protein delivery to specific sites, novel glucose and protein-binding polymer synthesis, and molecular imprinting and micro imprinting techniques that can lead to materials for intelligent drug delivery, drug targeting, and tissue engineering.

"I never realized you can target drugs so precisely," Marcos Intaglietta said after the lecture.

In his lecture, Peppas reviewed major developments in the field in the past 50 years and paid special tribute to the UCSD bioengineering pioneers Richard Skalak, Shu Chien, Bert Fung, Marcos Intaglietta, and Ben Zweifach. He stressed the importance of a balanced curriculum in BME and gave examples of a synergistic approach between engineering and biology in the field.

"It was a stellar talk!" Professor David Gough said, "This is what we need for our students."

peppas Skalek plaque

Geert Schmid-Schoebein, Chair of the UCSD Department of Bioengineering, presents a plaque to Nicholas Peppas.

Peppas was also able to meet with current UCSD graduate students and alumni of The University of Texas at Austin's Department of Biomedical Engineering. Alumni included Marcelo Barros (B.S. '12), Andrew Gross (B.S. '10), and Marcela Mendoza (B.S. '12) and current postdoctoral fellow Mary Nguyen (PhD '12).

The Richard Skalak Bioengineering Lecture is named after the late longtime professor, considered a pioneer in bioengineering. He began teaching at Columbia University as an instructor in civil engineering in 1948, ultimately becoming the James Kip Finch Professor of Engineering Mechanics and the director of the Bioengineering Institute in 1976. After retiring from Columbia in 1988 he joined the bioengineering faculty of UCSD. From 1992 to 1996 he was the founding director of the Institute for Mechanics and Materials at UCSD.

Skalak's discoveries on blood cell mechanics, pulmonary circulation, and tissue growth have been applied to research on cancer, sickle cell disease, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and other diseases.

Peppas UCSD students

Peppas visits with current UCSD graduate students and UT Austin BME alumni. Left to right: Marcela Mendoza (B.S. '10), Nicholas Peppas, Marcelo Barros (B.S. '12), Andrew Gross (B.S. '10).