Robert Sievers
Professor • Director, Environmental Program University of Colorado • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry • Boulder, CO

Professor Sievers studies analytical chemistry, pharmaceutical science, aerosols, microparticles and nanoparticles, supercritical fluids, and thin film deposition. Fundamental and applied studies of the formation of nanoparticle and microparticle aerosols are under way. Carbon dioxide-assisted nebulization provides superior aerosols for various forms of spectroscopy, such as electro-spray ionization, mass spectrometry, and atomic absorption. Professor Sievers’ students are collaborating with pharmacists and physicians in the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology to develop new methods for delivery of aerosol particles useful in direct and painless administration of therapeutic drugs by inhalation. The drugs are dissolved or suspended in supercritical fluids, and unusually small aerosol particles are formed by rapid decompression to facilitate delivery of the aerosol particles to the most distal alveoli and to allow rapid uptake by the lungs. Formation of fine aerosols is expected to become increasingly important in the treatment or vaccination against influenza, infections, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and diabetes.

The simultaneous stabilization, drying, and micronization of vaccines, antibodies, proteins, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals and other products of the biotechnology revolution are under study. Two of the fourteen “Grand Challenges” identified by the Gates Foundation and the NIH Foundation as critical to world health are being addressed by the Sievers group: needle-free administration of vaccines (by pulmonary or nasal aerosols), and vaccines that do not need refrigeration for long term storage.