Bioengineering Seminar Series

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"Design of Synthetic Alternatives to Biologics in Medicine"

Suzie Pun, Ph.D.
Robert F. Rushmer Professor of Bioengineering
Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of Washington

Biologics, products produced from living organisms, have revolutionized treatment of disease. Examples of FDA-approved biologics include therapeutic proteins (e.g. blood clotting factors and antibodies), engineered viruses for gene therapy, and cell therapies. Biologics are addressing previous unmet medical needs, but are challenging to manufacture and therefore high in cost. In this talk, I will describe our efforts to develop synthetic alternatives to biologics used in medicine. In the first example, a multivalent polymer displaying a fibrin-binding peptide was developed as a synthetic alternative to recombinant proteins used in trauma medicine. The second example, a polymer that facilitates intracellular delivery of nucleic acids and peptides was synthesized based on design principles learned from adenoviral vectors. In a final example, an unique aptamer with high affinity for T cell marker CD8 was discovered and applied as an alternative to antibodies for T cell isolation in the manufacturing process for CAR T cells.

Suzie H. Pun is the Robert F Rushmer Professor of Bioengineering, an Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering, and a member of the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute at UW.  She is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and has been recognized with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2006 and as an AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador in 2015. She serves as an Associate Editor for ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering. Her research focus area is in biomaterials and drug delivery. 

Suzie Pun received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology working under the supervision of Professor Mark E. Davis. She also worked as a senior scientist at Insert Therapeutics/Calando Pharmaceuticals developing polymeric drug delivery systems before joining the Department of Bioengineering at University of Washington.

The Bioengineering Seminar Series is co-hosted by the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Colly Mitchell
  • Created:05/24/2018
  • Modified By:Colly Mitchell
  • Modified:01/28/2019