ChBE Seminar Series: Smart Antimicrobial Biomaterials
Speaker: Anita Shukla, Assistant Professor of Engineering @ Brown University
A 2019 United Nations report warned of the catastrophic health and economic toll of failing to address rising antimicrobial resistance. Less than a decade prior to this, the World Health Organization warned of a “post antibiotic era” in which resistance causes common infections to become lethal; it is now widely accepted that we are in this era. Microbes inherently evolve resistance mechanisms over time, the rates of which can be exacerbated by frequent use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials and prolonged exposure. Compounding this issue is the lack of discovery of new antimicrobial agents. In this talk, I will describe our recent work on developing smart biomaterials, which may effectively treat microbial infections while potentially reducing development of resistance. These materials range from nanoparticles to surface coatings and hydrogels for the treatment of localized and systemic infections. I will focus on the highly tunable synthetic and natural polymer-based hydrogels and films we have reported for the encapsulation and release of antibiotics and antifungals in response to bacterial and fungal infections. These materials exhibit a variety of drug release behaviors and have demonstrated promising antimicrobial efficacy. I will also describe some of our work on using biomaterials approaches for detecting microbial infections including stimuli-responsive color changing molecules.
Anita Shukla is an Assistant Professor of Engineering and a member of the Center for Biomedical Engineering at Brown University. Professor Shukla's research focuses on designing responsive and targeted biomaterials for applications in drug delivery and regenerative medicine. She is particularly passionate about developing materials for the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections. Professor Shukla is the recipient of several national and University honors and awards for both her research and teaching, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, an Office of Naval Research Director of Research Early Career Grant, and a Brown University Early Career Research Achievement Award and Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Prior to joining Brown in 2013, Professor Shukla was a National Institutes of Health Ruth Kirschstein postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011 as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Professor Shukla also received a M.S. in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT. She received her B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006 with majors in chemical engineering and biomedical engineering.