Mark Prausnitz, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2009
For pioneering achievements to develop biophysical methods for delivery of drugs, genes and vaccines using microfabricated devices, electric fields and ultrasound.

Microneedle Patch Printer Enables On-Demand Vaccine Manufacturing

Via Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News | April 24, 2023

The portable instrument could increase global access to vaccines by simplifying their storage, distribution, and administration.

Researchers from the lab of Robert Langer, ScD, at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), say they have developed a printer for microneedle patches smaller than postage stamps that penetrate the skin to deliver vaccines, including the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.

The research article, “A microneedle vaccine printer for thermostable COVID-19 mRNA vaccines,” was published in Nature Biotechnology… Continue reading.

Mark Prausnitz Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Via Georgia Tech | February 7, 2023

The honor is one of the highest professional distinctions for engineers

Professor and entrepreneur Mark Prausnitz has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), joining a membership that includes the nation’s most distinguished engineers. He is Georgia Tech’s 46th NAE member.

Prausnitz is the J. Erskine Love Jr. Chair of the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) and director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Drug Design, Development and Delivery. He’s also the only Georgia Tech faculty member recognized as both a Regents’ Professor and Regents’ Entrepreneur, the highest academic titles awarded by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. He joins 105 new NAE members in the 2023 class along with 18 new international members… Continue reading.

Painless, Bloodless Tattoos Possible With New Microneedle Technique

Via Everyday Health | September 19, 2022

Tattoos may seem like they’re everywhere, and no longer taboo. But widespread medical use of tattoos has been limited because of the need for repeated needle injections that can be painful and carry risks of bleeding and infection.

Now scientists have developed a way to avoid these deterrents: a tattoo patch containing microscopic needles that can quickly color skin without causing pain or drawing blood. These single-use microneedle tattoo patches work for both color images and for markings visible only with ultraviolet illumination, according to a study published September 14 in iScience… Continue reading.

‘Contraceptive jewelry’ promises easier adherence than traditional birth control methods

Via Healio | April 13, 2019

Researchers from Georgia Tech developed and performed initial testing for contraceptive patches administered via jewelry that could provide a new avenue for birth control, according to findings presented in the Journal of Controlled Release.

“Approximately 40% of births worldwide are unintended, which means that there is a need for additional contraceptive options to enable better family planning,” Mark Prausnitz, PhD, a professor in the school of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, told Endocrine Today. “The contraceptive earring can help women adhere more reliably with using the contraceptive and thereby increase the success of contraception… Continue reading.

Microneedle Patch Delivers Long-Acting Contraceptive

Via Hospi Medica | January 31, 2019

A new study shows how a long-acting contraceptive designed for self-administration could provide a new family planning option, particularly in developing nations.

Developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech; Atlanta, GA, USA) and the University of Michigan (U-M; Ann Arbor, USA), the novel patch is made of 100 microneedles molded from a blend of polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) and polylactic acid (PLA), two biodegradable polymers commonly used in sutures. Bubble structures situated in the patch backing allow the microneedles to penetrate skin under compression, and snap off under shear force within five seconds of patch administration… Continue reading.

Researchers develop microneedle patch for flu vaccination

Via National Institutes of Health | June 27, 2017

A National Institutes of Health-funded study led by a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University has shown that an influenza vaccine can produce robust immune responses and be administered safely with an experimental patch of dissolving microneedles. The method is an alternative to needle-and-syringe immunization; with further development, it could eliminate the discomfort of an injection as well as the inconvenience and expense of visiting a flu clinic.

“This bandage-strip sized patch of painless and dissolvable needles can transform how we get vaccinated,” said Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), which funded the study. “A particularly attractive feature is that this vaccination patch could be delivered in the mail and self-administered. In addition, this technology holds promise for delivering other vaccines in the future.”

The researchers received funding through an NIBIB Quantum Grant and from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The study, published online June 27, 2017, in The Lancet, was led by Nadine Rouphael, M.D., associate professor of medicine, and Mark J. Mulligan, M.D., distinguished professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, in collaboration with Mark R. Prausnitz, Ph.D., Regents Professor and J. Erskine Love Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. A team led by Prausnitz designed the dime-sized patch of microneedles used in the study.

The vaccine patch consists of 100 solid, water-soluble needles that are just long enough to penetrate the skin. “The skin is an immune surveillance organ,” Prausnitz said. “It’s our interface with the outside world, so it’s very well equipped to detect a pathogen and mount an immune response against it.”

Adhesive helps the patch grip the skin during the administration of the vaccine, which is encapsulated in the needles and is released as the needle tips dissolve, within minutes. The patch is peeled away and discarded like a used bandage strip… Continue reading.

Getting Vaccinated Will Soon Be As Easy As Putting On A Band-Aid

Via Fast Company | May 4, 2015

Most people hate getting jabbed with even a single needle, but Georgia Tech’s Mark Prausnitz thinks the future of vaccination is to jab people with a hundred needles at once. But it’s not as terrifying as it sounds; in fact, Praustnitz’s design for delivering vaccines is as easy as slapping on a band-aid.

Just a fraction of a millimeter long, up to 100 microneedles can be applied at once to painlessly vaccinate patients against the flu, rubella, or the measles. Using a cocktail of sugar, vaccine, and a polymer (to keep the needles stable), each patch contains a single dose of vaccine. To apply it, you just slap it onto someone’s skin like a sticker. The tiny needles then painlessly puncture a patient’s skin, where they dissolve. 20 minutes later, and you can throw the patch away, fully vaccinated.

Although needles are most effective way of vaccinating someone, they have a lot of problems, especially in the developing world. Not only do they hurt, but require special training to mix and administer the vaccine, which itself requires refrigeration to keep viable, says Dr. James Goodson of the Center for Disease Control.