Delaware Bio selects UD’s Kiick to receive Academic Research Award

9:45 a.m., May 6, 2013–University of Delaware professor Kristi Kiick is currently developing a range of novel hydrogels in order to improve the treatment of cardiovascular conditions as well as the delivery of antibodies to protect against toxins. The polymers that comprise the hydrogels are engineered to regulate the rate of drug delivery and to protect the therapeutic molecules from degrading before reaching their destination.

For her work, Kiick, a professor of materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering, will receive the 2013 Academic Research Award at the Delaware BioScience Association’s (Delaware Bio) annual awards gala on May 22. Given annually, the award recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of life science research at an academic or medical research institution in Delaware.

In his nomination letter, Karl Steiner, UD senior associate provost for research development, referred to Kiick as one of “the best and brightest” and a “true leader on campus and beyond.”

“Kristi is a pioneer in biopolymeric hydrogels and she is collaborating with numerous partners across Delaware and beyond to develop these materials, which are based on polymers and resilin, for cardiovascular and protein delivery applications,” Steiner said.

In other research, she is collaborating with UD colleagues to develop novel nanomaterials from biomolecules for potential use in energy applications, and to explore the potential for an engineered resilin-like protein, similar to that found in the joints of insects, to treat vocal fold disorders in humans.

“I am honored by this recognition, and thankful for the opportunities I have had to collaborate with talented scientists in the region. The activities of Delaware Bio help keep such collaborations vibrant, bringing together professionals from academia and industry and across many disciplines. A collaborative environment is key to improving our chances for solving difficult medical and biotechnology challenges,” Kiick said.

Since 2011, Kiick has served as deputy dean of the College of Engineering, in addition to her faculty and research roles. She was recently one of 19 women engineers selected nationwide for the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE) program at Drexel University College of Medicine, where she will participate with other engineering leaders on organizational development activities. She also has been an active participant in multiple engineering and campus-wide activities aimed at improving the representation of female faculty in science and engineering.

Her other professional memberships include the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymer Chemistry, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Biomaterials and the Controlled Release Society. She serves as a founding principal editor for MRS Communications, and is on the advisory and editorial boards for Macromolecular Bioscience, Biomacromolecules and Macromolecules.

A fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, Kiick holds 17 U.S. patents, has presented over 125 invited seminars and presentations and authored over 80 journal articles and book chapters.

About Delaware Bio

Delaware Bio is a non-profit trade association that serves its members and the state of Delaware by collaborating with other local businesses and organizations to advance the growth of the bioscience industry in Delaware and the region.

Article by Sarah E. Meadows

BiomolecularPioneering polymer research