Daewon Park, associate professor of bioengineering, received an R01 ($1.54M) from NIH/NEI titled “Engineered multi-therapeutic agents delivery system towards retinal ganglion cell axon regeneration” and a CCTSI CSU-CU Co-Pilot ($60K) titled “Engineered nanoparticles towards visual function recovery.”
In the United States, approximately 2.2 million people suffer from optic neuropathies, accounting for 9 to 12% of all cases of blindness. Of them, 10% of patients who receive proper medical treatment continue to experience vision loss, which obviously needs an alternative treatment strategy. One of current strategies utilizes neurotrophic factors (NTFs) to increase retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival, responsible for the visual function. However, the delivery of NTFs alone may result in limited treatment success since optic neuropathies accompany neurodegeneration, caused by the neurotoxic cycles.
With these two awards, Park, along with multidisciplinary collaborators, will develop an engineered polymeric nanoparticles to continuously supply NTFs and inhibit the neurotoxicity with programed release periods, and ultimately improve the visual function. Upon successful completion, it will establish a new concept of delivery system, tightly controlling co-delivery of NTFs and an anti-neurotoxic agent for the treatment of optic neuropathy, and provide fundamental pre-clinical data towards visual function recovery.
At the CU Denver College of Engineering, Design and Computing, we focus on providing our students with a comprehensive engineering education at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level. Faculty conduct research that spans our five disciplines of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, bioengineering, and computer science and engineering. The college collaborates with industry from around the state; our laboratories and research opportunities give students the hands-on experience they need to excel in the professional world.