Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dr. Mohammad F. Kiani, in collaboration with Dr. Laurie E. Kilpatrick in the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, was recently awarded nearly $1.5 million by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop a rapid screening system to understand cellular mechanisms of sepsis, thereby allowing rapid screening of therapeutic development. The $1.5 million award comes with an additional two year, $1 million DTRA option.
In mass casualty situations, including exposure to chemical, biological and nuclear agents, there is increased susceptibility to systemic infection (sepsis) from endogenous and exogenous organisms. Almost all drugs recently developed in animal models to treat sepsis have failed in clinical trials, exposing an acute need for rapid pre-screening tools to determine if the response of therapeutics in animals is predictive of their response in humans.
The proposed project will focus on using an established animal model of sepsis along with a novel microfluidic system to test the hypothesis that in sepsis, phenotypic differences impact leukocyte-endothelial interactions similarly in vivo and in vitro. They will also determine if the response of mouse cells to two candidate drugs in vitro is predictive of the response of an animal model of sepsis to these drugs. They will then seek to determine if in vitro responses of human cells to drugs is predictive of the clinical response to these drugs.
Dr. Kiani's expertise is in biofluid mechanics, targeted drug delivery, and radiation oncology. Dr. Kiani co-founded Engineering World Health with Dr. Robert Malkin, served as its president for several years, and currently serves on its board of directors.
Read more about Dr. Kiani and his research interests here.