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Sullivan wins NSF Career Award for research on therapeutic drug carriers
Date:5/28/2008

Millicent Sullivan was a born engineer. As a youngster, she had a fascination with shapes and loved building things with Tinker Toys.

Today, Sullivan, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Delaware and Merck Faculty Fellow, is applying her knowledge and talents to an area critical to human health--she's building new materials for delivering healing drugs and gene therapies to diseased and damaged cells in the human body.

Sullivan is UD's latest recipient of the National Science Foundation's prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award. The highly competitive award is bestowed on those scientists and engineers deemed most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.

The five-year, $489,798 grant will support Sullivan's research to determine how cells interact with potential drug carriers and how the resulting structural changes of the carrier affect its ability to efficiently deliver its payload.

"It's an honor. I was thrilled to hear the news," Sullivan said. "The National Science Foundation has always been a respected funding organization. Colleagues in my field do the reviews for the proposals, so that is very gratifying."

"The College of Engineering has some of the best young engineering faculty in the country, and Prof. Sullivan is a perfect example," Michael Chajes, dean of engineering, said. "Her work in the area of new materials for delivering drugs and gene therapies to human cells is groundbreaking research. This award will enable her to take important steps towards moving the research closer to implementation. I look forward to watching Millie's career continue to blossom," Chajes noted.

Sullivan wants to harness the cell's biological environment to "productively evolve" new drug or gene packaging materials as they make the rough-and-tumble journey from a blood vessel, through the connective tissue, through the cell membrane, and finally into
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Contact: Tracey Bryant
tbryant@udel.edu
302-831-8185
University of Delaware
Source:Eurekalert  

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Sullivan wins NSF Career Award for research on therapeutic drug carriers
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