Tuesday, August 19, 2014
News Brief: Carnegie Mellon's Kathryn Whitehead Named a Pioneer on MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 List
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PITTSBURGH—Kathryn Whitehead, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named a "Pioneer" on MIT Technology Review's annual list of Innovators Under 35 for her work in biotechnology and medicine. For over a decade, the global media company has recognized a list of exceptionally talented technologists whose work has great potential to transform the world.
Whitehead is helping to shape the frontiers of drug delivery: getting therapeutic drugs — such as those that help fight cancer and other diseases — to the right cells in the body. This is difficult when the body recognizes the drug as being foreign.
"The body is very good at ridding itself of foreign substances, and that includes medicine that will ultimately help the body," Whitehead said. "We need to disguise the drug from the immune system, protect it from enzymes, and mediate the entering of the drugs into the right cells."
Whitehead's research group uses nanoparticles to encapsulate and protect the drug from the body's immune system so it can successfully reach the cells in need. The group modifies the chemical makeup of the nanoparticles so they may enter the cells and perform their therapeutic duty.
"Over the years, we've had success in choosing young innovators whose work has been profoundly influential on the direction of human affairs," said MIT Technology Review editor in chief and publisher Jason Pontin. "Previous winners include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the co-founders of Google; Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook; Jonathan Ive, the chief designer of Apple; and David Karp, the creator of Tumblr. We're proud of our selections and the variety of achievements they celebrate, and we're proud to add Katie Whitehead to this prestigious list."
This year's honorees are featured online at technologyreview.com, and will be highlighted in the September/October print magazine, which hits newsstands worldwide on Sept. 2. They will appear in person at the upcoming EmTech MIT Conference, Sept. 23-25 in Cambridge, Mass.
Kathryn Whitehead (pictured above), an assistant professor of chemical engineering, is helping to shape the frontiers of drug delivery: getting therapeutic drugs — such as those that help fight cancer and other diseases — to the right cells in the body.
Also named to MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 list is CMU alumnus Severin Hacker, who co-founded CMU spinoff Duolingo with CMU Associate Professor of Computer Science Luis von Ahn. Duolingo, a free education platform, teaches foreign languages to anyone with a smartphone or an Internet connection for free. Duolingo began as a research project at CMU and now offers 32 language courses and has more than 30 million users. Apple named Duolingo the iPhone App of the Year in 2013 and Google selected it as the Best of the Best for Android in 2013.