Frances Ligler, D.Sc.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2012
Engineered automated biosensors for fast, on-site detection of pathogens, toxins, pollutants, drugs of abuse, and explosives.

In animal study, implant churns out CAR-T cells to combat cancer

Via Science Daily | March 24, 2022

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed an implantable biotechnology that produces and releases CAR-T cells for attacking cancerous tumors. In a proof-of-concept study involving lymphoma in mice, the researchers found that treatment with the implants was faster and more effective than conventional CAR-T cell cancer treatment.

T cells are part of the immune system, tasked with identifying and destroying cells in the body that have become infected with an invading pathogen. CAR-T cells are T cells that have been engineered to identify cancer cells and destroy them. CAR-T cells are already in clinical use for treating lymphomas, and there are many clinical trials under way focused on using CAR-T cell treatments against other forms of cancer… Continue reading.

Newly developed gel helps improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy in glioblastoma

Via News-Medical.Net | October 7, 2021

Pairing a newly developed gel with immunotherapy that was delivered to post-surgical mouse brains with glioblastoma, a highly malignant and deadly cancer, improved the immunotherapy’s effectiveness, report researchers from the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and colleagues. The findings appeared on Oct. 6, 2021, in Science Advances.

The researchers used CAR-T cell (chimeric antigen receptor-T cell) immunotherapy, which involves harvesting immune-system T cells from a patient and genetically re-engineering them in the lab to recognize targets on the surface of cancer cells. In this mouse study, the CAR-T cells and gel were placed to fill in the area where a glioblastoma tumor had just been surgically removed. Previous studies have shown that administering T cells alone have produced limited benefit… Continue reading.

NAE announces winners of 2020 Simon Ramo Founders and Arthur M. Bueche Awards

Via EurekAlert | October 2, 2020

On Sunday, Oct. 4, during the 2020 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will present two awards for extraordinary impact on the engineering profession. The Simon Ramo Founders Award will be presented to Frances S. Ligler for her research contributions and leadership in engineering. The Arthur M. Bueche Award will be given to Arden L. Bement Jr. for his contributions to technology research, policy, and national and international cooperation.

Frances S. Ligler is the Ross Lampe Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University and the School of Medicine and College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ligler is being recognized with the Simon Ramo Founders Award “for the invention and development of portable optical biosensors, service to the nation and profession, and educating the next, more diverse generation of engineers.” The award acknowledges outstanding professional, educational, and personal achievements to the benefit of society and includes a commemorative medal… Continue reading.

Frances Ligler’s Portable Optical Biosensors Improve Environmental Detection of Toxins, Pollutants

Via IPWatchdog | January 13, 2018

The term “biosensor” covers a variety of analytical devices which use a biological component, such as cells or tissue, which interact with the particular chemical being examined, and then a physicochemical detector which transforms the interaction of the biological component and the analyte to generate a signal which can be measured. Market research on biosensors and bio-analytical devices indicates that such technologies have applications in a wide range of industries including food toxicity detection, agriculture, environmental pollution control, medical testing, and industrial processing and monitoring. A recent market research report from Global Market Insights indicates that the medical applications contributed to 66 percent of the overall biosensor market during 2015, reaching a value of $9.8 billion… Continue reading.

Ligler To Be Inducted Into National Inventors Hall Of Fame

Via NC State | February 27, 2017

Dr. Frances Ligler, Lampe Distinguished Professor in the UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, is one of 15 2017 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Ligler is being recognized for her innovative application of emerging technologies in a variety of fields to make optical biosensors smaller, more versatile and more sophisticated. Thanks to her work conducted at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), biosensors have moved out of the lab and into use for food safety, disease diagnosis, pollution control and homeland security.

“I am humbled and honored to be in such great company,” Ligler said. “As an innovator that enjoyed hands-on, STEM activities in my early childhood years, I look forward to partnering with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to inspire the next generation of STEM innovators, especially young women, who aspire to be inventors in their own right.”

Dr. B. Jayant Baliga, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Donald Bitzer, Distinguished University Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science, are the College’s other two Hall of Fame inductees.

With three inductees currently affiliated with universities, NC State is tied with Stanford and trails only MIT in the number of living members of the Hall of Fame who are affiliated with universities in the United States.

A biosensor is a device using biological molecules to detect a chemical or biological target. Ligler developed a new chemistry for attaching biomolecules on sensor surfaces that maintained their functionality far better than prior approaches and then integrated emerging technologies from a variety of fields to make optical biosensors smaller, more versatile, and more automated. The resulting biosensors have moved out of the lab and into food production plants, clinics in developing countries, pollutant cleanup sites, and areas of concern for military and homeland security.

Introducing Dr. Frances Ligler

Via NC State Engineering | September 1, 2013

Dr. Frances Ligler is new to the College of Engineering at NC State, but she’s far from being a novice. A pioneer in the fields of biosensors and microfluidics, Ligler’s seminal concepts in biosensing and transfer to industrial products, including the development of detection systems for biological agents, led to being elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005. She was recognized with the Presidential Rank Awards of Distinguished Senior Professional and of Meritorious Senior Professional in 2003 and 2012, respectively.

Recently, Ligler was named the inaugural Lampe Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at NC State – home to the National Science Foundation ASSIST Engineering Research Center and bioengineering initiatives in multiple departments. She brings 28 years of experience gained at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, as Senior Scientist for Biosensors and Biomaterials. Ligler holds patents that have led to 11 commercial biosensor products – devices that use biological materials to monitor the presence of chemicals in a substance.