ChBE Seminar Series: Mandy Esch, Ph.D. @ NIST

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
11:00 a.m.
2108 Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building
Amy Karlsson

Speaker: Mandy Esch, Ph.D., CNST Project Leader in the Nanoscale Imaging and Spectroscopy Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Title: The Development of Multi-Organ Microphysiological Platforms for Drug Testing

Abstract: Clinical trials for new drugs can uncover unexpected drug toxicity. For every fifty drugs that work in animals, there is only one that shows the same result in humans. In other words, drugs that are not toxic for animals can have a very different effect in human patients. Unless we develop better mimics of the human body that can be used for drug testing, patients will continue to be exposed to drugs that will not work.

Our group works on the development of multi-organ microphysiological systems that can mimic the human metabolism. Those platforms can be used to simulate drug exposure and the drug’s conversion to metabolites. We integrate sensors that can measure positive and adverse effects of drugs and drug metabolites continuously throughout a long-term drug exposure. Our current platform contains chambers for the GI tract and the liver, providing a platform that can be used to test a drug’s first pass metabolism. Sensor elements are optical, electrical, and electrochemical. The platform allows us to make predictions for human patients.

The adoption of multi-organ microphysiological systems requires that the systems are inexpensive, easy to use and that they mimic the human metabolism as truthfully as possible. Replicating results obtained with such systems will depend on implementing standards ranging from platform materials, design and usage.

Bio: Mandy B. Esch is a CNST project leader in the Nanoscale Imaging and Spectroscopy Group. She received an M.S. in Biology and a Ph.D. in Biotechnology from the Julius Maximilians (Würzburg) University in Germany. During her PhD research she developed paper-microfluidics and microfluidic biosensors for the detection of pathogens that can contaminate drinking water. In 2001, Mandy joined the Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility as life sciences liaison, where she helped create nanobiotechnology projects. In 2007, she joined the department of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University as a senior research associate. While there, she developed several patents for multi-organ body-on-a-chip systems. For this work, her team received the 2015 Lush Science Prize. From 2015 to 2016 Mandy spent a year as an assistant professor at Syracuse University at the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering. She taught nanobiotechnology and built a laboratory for tissues-on-chip research. In 2016 Mandy moved to Maryland, where she joined NIST. Her work at NIST will focus on integrating tissue sensors with tissues-on-a-chip devices.

Audience: Campus 

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