Beckman Fellow 2004-05

Daniel Wayne Pack

Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering


Professor Pack applies principles of chemical engineering in order to understand, design, and synthesize drug- and gene-delivery devices. The goal of such delivery systems is to administer therapeutics in the right amount, at the proper time, and in the needed concentrations in a way that is safe for the patient and protective of the drug. His research program has three main themes: (a) development of controlled-release drug-delivery devices that provide therapeutic amounts of drug for prolonged times (from days to months) from a single administration, (b) reengineering of viruses to exhibit optimal properties for gene delivery, and (c) design of “artificial viruses” for safe and efficient human gene therapy.

During his Center appointment, Professor Pack will study novel delivery systems for DNA-based vaccines. While these are generally safer than traditional vaccines and are more effective for certain diseases, current delivery systems typically require a series of booster shots to be most effective; and boosters amplify the risks of unsafe injection practices and make compliance difficult, especially in underdeveloped countries. Professor Pack is seeking to develop single-shot DNA-based vaccines by precisely fabricating DNA-containing polymer microcapsules. His work encompasses novel microcapsule fabrication technologies being developed in his lab which will help to elucidate how microcapsule geometry controls DNA administration. The resulting delivery systems will facilitate the development of DNA vaccines and have a broad impact on the development of many protein- and gene-based drugs.