We are pleased to welcome new Assistant Research Professor Mark Kastantin, whose research interests include rationally designing sophisticated, nano-scale, protein-like materials that synergistically combine biologically inspired motifs to perform functions beyond what is found in nature. Some applications of this work include disease diagnosis, targeted drug delivery, and immunotherapy.
Kastantin received BS degrees in both chemical engineering and brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003. He completed his PhD in 2009 at the University of California Santa Barbara under Professor Matthew Tirrell. His thesis work applied principles in polymer physics to develop a unique, micelle-based platform for targeted drug delivery, which has become a promising strategy to improve treatment of both breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.
After receiving his Ph.D., Kastantin moved into postdoctoral research with ChBE Professor Daniel Schwartz, receiving a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. His research focused on fluorescence microscopy methods to observe detailed interfacial behavior of individual biomolecules, shedding light on phenomena such as protein aggregation and DNA hybridization in the vicinity of a surface.
When not at work, Kastantin can be found spending time with family and traveling up and down mountains by foot, bike, or ski.