Prajna Dhar

Molecular Engineering and Interfacial Nanomedicine Lab
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
University of Kansas

Research Overview

Nanomedicine, an offshoot of nanotechnology, seeks to develop highly specific medical intervention at the molecular scale by developing smart nanomaterials and nanomachines that can autonomously detect, cure, or replace damaged and diseased cells and tissues. The NIH Nanomedicine Roadmap for the future of research is directed towards establishing cross-disciplinary teams of physicists, biologists, physicians, and computer scientists to work towards this goal.

A major challenge in nanomedicine is to develop thorough understanding of the physical and chemical properties of the self-assembled biological structure and design. Additionally, smarter strategies are required for designing artificial autonomous nanomachines that can work synergistically within the human body to provide more efficient medical therapies. The broad research goals of my laboratory are to address this challenge by developing novel biophysical and biochemical tools to probe the physical rules governing the self-assembly and functioning of biological soft matter, i.e., Nature's intricate biological structures. In addition, we are also interested in designing efficient engineered nanocarriers of drugs that will work effectively within the body for specific treatments of diseased cells and tissues. We have established strong collaborations with researchers in various different disciplines and believe our success lies in the interdisciplinary nature of our work.