How Responsive Nanomaterials Take Medicine to the Next Level

Self-destruction mechanisms are not only a frequent feature of action movies, they are also the next big thing in nanomedicine. Think of tiny capsules that overcome complex barriers of the body and eventually dissolve, releasing substances to specific places – and at specific times. From self-healing materials, to nutrients, drugs, fat-burners or fragrances – smart polymers, nanoparticles and hydrogels have a wide range of therapeutic, diagnostic or cosmetic applications. Adah Almutairi, who has been awarded with recognitions like the NIH New Innovator Award, is a specialist in bioresponsive materials and leads an interdisciplinary research team at UC San Diego. In her research work, she applies cutting edge macromolecular engineering techniques and nanotechnology to innovate the visualisation of molecular processes in living organisms and to improve drug delivery and biopharmaceutics. Her group’s most recent discovery is a novel mechanism which uses light to activate drug-delivering nanoparticles and other targeted therapeutic substances inside the body. At Falling Walls, Adah Almutairi presents an overview of her fascinating research and an outlook on its groundbreaking possibilities in health care.

Adah Almutairi

University of California, San Diego

Adah Almutairi leads the Laboratory for Bioresponsive Materials, a highly interdisciplinary research group that combines materials chemistry with nanotechnology, and the Center of Excellence in Nanomedicine, a cross-campus collaborative that develops tools for the future of biology and medicine. She came to UC San Diego from UC Berkeley, where she worked with Professor Jean Fréchet to develop several nanoprobes for in vivo imaging. Prior to that, she completed her PhD in materials chemistry at UC Riverside on electron delocalization and molecular structure, which led her to develop a novel polymer for electromechanical actuation. Prof. Almutairi has won several awards and competitive funding throughout her career, including an NIH New Innovator Award. She has been invited to speak at universities and conferences around the world, from Harvard to Stockholm, Sweden, to Doha, Qatar, to Changchun, China. At Falling Walls, Adah Almutairi presents an overview of her fascinating research and an outlook on its groundbreaking possibilities in health care.

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