281404 The Era of Self-Administration of Biopharmaceuticals
Since genetic engineering technologies opened the gate to the production of therapeutic biomolecules such as peptides, proteins, DNA, and vaccines, the number of biopharmaceuticals reaching the clinic has increased exponentially over the past two decades and still more biopharmaceuticals are expected to enter the market in the future. In contrast to low molecular weight chemical-based drugs, biopharmaceuticals cannot be given by the oral delivery route because they are degraded significantly in the stomach and intestine, not easily absorbed through the mucus membrane of the intestine, and also degraded in the liver after entry into the systemic circulation. For these reasons, biopharmaceuticals are administered mostly by injection using hypodermic needles to ensure high bioavailability of biopharmaceuticals; however, injections not only have low patient compliance due to fear and pain from the use of hypodermic needles, but also require medically trained personnel and specific protocols for safe use and disposal of used needles.
Two innovative methods of transdermal delivery of biopharmaceuticals were designed without using hypodermic needles for my doctoral research; dissolving microneedles patch (cited more than 90 times according to scholar.google.com in 4 years after publication) and microsecond skin ablation. These novel technologies are expected to empower patients to administer their medicine regardless of where they are. My research will emphasize pharmaceutical engineering by applying chemical engineering and interdisciplinary principles to the drug development and delivery ultimately for self-administration of biopharmaceuticals. My objectives as a faculty are to develop the collaborative research program for the delivery of biopharmaceuticals and help students understand the fundamentals of chemical engineering and apply their apprehension to the journey to explore new things.