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Todd D. Giorgio, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2007
For significant contributions to teaching and research in the fields of cell bioengineering, nonviral gene therapy and artificial liver development.

Micelle “Packets” Deliver Cancer Drugs

Via Vanderbilt | April 8, 2015

Small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules can suppress tumor growth and target cells otherwise untreatable by conventional therapeutics, but targeted, intracellular delivery is a significant limitation to siRNA translation.

To deliver the siRNA molecules into tumor cells, researchers have packaged them in micelles that express folic acid, which is internalized by cancer cells that overexpress folate receptors. A problem with this approach is that normal healthy tissue can also have a high expression of folate receptors, resulting in off-target effects.

To increase specificity, Craig Duvall, Ph.D., Todd Giorgio, Ph.D., and colleagues utilized an additional hallmark of breast cancer – elevated matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) – to create mixed micelles that have an outer layer of matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP7) cleavable peptide. Thus, only in an MMP-rich environment will the MMP7 be cleaved to expose the folic acid and deliver the therapeutic siRNA.

In a study published recently in Biomacromolecules, the researchers show that their new design has better target specificity and protein expression knockdown in breast cancer cells.

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Vanderbilt Students Travel to Washington, D.C., for Science Policy Event

Via Vanderbilt | October 27, 2014

“By far, though, the most valuable part of the program was the opportunity to network with key people in the field. I was very impressed that Vanderbilt was able to recruit such high-level STEM policy professionals to work with us,” said Wesley Bond, a postdoctoral scholar in ophthalmology and visual sciences

The program was hosted by Vanderbilt’s Office of Federal Relations in partnership with the School of Engineering, the Graduate School, the School of Medicine’s Biomedical Research Education and Training Office, and the Center for Student Professional Development. The original idea for the Vanderbilt workshop came from a similar program created and run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Vanderbilt students attended a 2-day STEM policy conference in Washington, D.C.
“The AAAS opportunity was an inspiration, but it also highlighted the disconnect between the availability of public policy experiences and the interest of Vanderbilt students — undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. I discussed the idea of providing a Vanderbilt-sponsored opportunity for public policy exposure with Christina West, assistant vice chancellor for federal relations,” recalled Todd Giorgio, professor and chair of biomedical engineering.

West’s interest in such a Vanderbilt-centric program resulted in a conversation with Cindy Funk, director of the Center for Student Professional Development, who was equally interested in undergraduate student participation.

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Giorgio Elected Chair of Aimbe’s Academic Council | News | School of Engineering | Vanderbilt University

Via Vanderbilt Engineering News | May 22, 2014

Todd Giorgio, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been elected by the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) as its Academic Council Chair for 2014-2016. Giorgio was nominated, reviewed and elected by peers and members of the Academic Council.

Giorgio has recently served as the chair of the Council of Chairs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering and is currently past-chair of that organization. He was elected to AIMBE’s College of Fellows in 2007 for significant contributions to teaching and research in the fields of cell bioengineering, nonviral gene therapy and artificial liver development.

“It is truly an honor to be elected by peers who are among the most accomplished and distinguished engineering and medical school leaders, researchers and professors,” Giorgio said.

In his role as AIMBE Academic Council Chair, Giorgio serves on the AIMBE Board of Directors, and he plans to advocate for new approaches to communicate the activities and impact of medical and biological engineers to the public, industry and government.

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BME-Powered Startup Wins First Place in Memphis Tech Event

Via Vanderbilt School of Engineering | July 9, 2013

BioNanovations, a startup company based on technology developed at Vanderbilt, claimed first place at the NewME Accelerator PopUp event held in Memphis June 28-30.

According to The Daily News in Memphis, the company was awarded prizes worth $45,000 and earned a seat in the 12-week NewME Accelerator program in Silicon Valley.

BioNanovations focuses on bringing nanotechnology to the medical device world, such as its real-time system for monitoring and diagnosing bacterial infections.

The company was founded by Vanderbilt biomedical engineering graduate student Charleson Bell and Todd D. Giorgio, chair of the department of biomedical engineering. The pair developed the fast and effective staph infection test during Bell’s doctoral studies. Other such diagnostic tests take several days to yield results. The test offered by BioNanovations takes just 30 minutes.

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Giorgio Named Distinguished Alumnus by Rice University Bioengineering Department

Via Vanderbilt School of Engineering | November 2, 2012

Todd D. Giorgio has been named a 2012 Distinguished Bioengineering Alumnus by the department of bioengineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Giorgio earned a doctorate in chemical engineering from Rice in 1986.

The department’s alumni awards honor excellence in research, teaching, service or significant contributions to academia, society or the bioengineering industry.

Giorgio was named chair of the department of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt in 2008. He first joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1987.

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Giorgio is BMES 2011 Fellow

Via Vanderbilt School of Engineering | October 24, 2011

Todd Giorgio, professor and chair of the biomedical engineering department at Vanderbilt University, is a member of the 2011 class of the Biomedical Engineering Society’s Fellows. The six newly elected fellows were nominated by their peers and elected by the BMES Fellows Committee chaired by board member Nicholas A. Peppas of the University of Texas.

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Giorgio Participates in Capitol Policy Seminar on Biomedical Research Sponsored by DoD

Via Vanderbilt School of Engineering | November 15, 2010

Todd D. Giorgio, chair of the biomedical engineering department, participated a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 10 in the Capitol Visitors Center. The policy seminar was sponsored by the Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR) on the topic of ‘New Perspectives on Defense Basic Research: Health/Biomedical Research.’

The Department of Defense research portfolio is extraordinarily diverse, supporting programs across the physical, biological and life sciences, as well as graduate and STEM education initiatives.  This seminar featured cutting-edge health research supported by DoD that could revolutionize not only military medicine, but also treatments for citizens across the globe.

Giorgio explained to participants how his multidisciplinary team is employing nanotechnology to combat metastatic breast cancer. His project, now in tests with animal models, identifies cancer cells through an enzyme they release. Molecules bind to the cells and deliver chemotherapy.

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Giorgio Delivers Invited Talk at IEEE International Conference in Argentina

Via Vanderbilt School of Engineering | September 16, 2010

Todd D. Giorgio, professor and chair of the biomedical engineering department, delivered an invited talk at the 32nd annual international conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in Buenos Aries, Argentina, Sept. 1-4.

His title – Medical School Influence on Biomedical Engineering Research and Teaching – was part of  “Technology Commercialization, Education, Industry and Society,” one of 11 program themes.  The overall global conference title was “Merging Medical Humanism and Technology.”

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