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Omid Veiseh

Omid Veiseh-webAssistant Professor of Bioengineering,
CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research

Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT and Harvard Medical School (2011-2016)
Ph.D., Materials Science & Engineering and Nanotechnology, University of Washington (2009)
B.S., Cell Biology, Western Washington University (2002)

Veiseh Lab

Bio Sketch

Omid Veiseh’s laboratory utilizes advanced nano, micro, and macro fabrication techniques in combination with molecular engineering and cellular and molecular biology, to develop platforms of implantable devices tailored for in vivo chemical sensing and delivery of therapeutics. The Veiseh laboratory is particularly interested in developing technologies for the improved management of cancer, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.

New research in Veiseh’s laboratory, which is supported by a $2 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to improve the diagnosis and therapy of pediatric brain tumors. By combining the latest innovations in nanotechnology, chemical engineering, high-throughput synthesis and screening methods, molecular biology, and pediatric brain tumor oncology, his lab can develop a new modality for the treatment of pediatric brain tumors. In the long run, the development of this technology would not only benefit pediatric brain tumor patients, but could also translate towards other debilitating diseases of the central nervous system.

Prior to joining Rice, Veiseh worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in Professors Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson laboratories at MIT and Harvard Medical School. Through grants from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Department of Defense, Veiseh worked to develop a bioartificial pancreas for the treatment of patients afflicted with Type 1 Diabetes. Veiseh focused on developing immune modulatory biomaterials for cell-based therapy applications. This included a high-throughput pipeline for the synthesis and evaluation of more than 1,000 material formulations and prototype devices that are able to resist foreign body reactions. These formulations were used to develop novel, porous, alginate hydrogels with tuned geometries for enhanced biocompatibility and sustainability. The results lay the groundwork for transplanted cells encapsulated inside the alginate spheres to treat type 1 diabetes.

Veiseh’s discoveries at MIT helped catalyze the launch of a new biotechnology company, Sigilon, a company he co-founded in Cambridge, Mass. that is committed to commercializing and translating these discoveries to the clinic. Veiseh has authored, or co-authored more than 45 peer-reviewed publications, including those in Nature Biotechnology, Nature Materials, Nature Medicine, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, and is an inventor on 12 pending or awarded patents, three of which have been licensed for commercialization with three separate biotechnology companies. Veiseh was recently named one of MedTech Boston's 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators for 2017.

Veiseh holds a dual Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering and Nanotechnology from the University of Washington. His research under Miqin Zhang, the Kyocera Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, was focused on the development of magnetic nanotechnologies for multimodality molecular imaging, and targeted drug delivery of nucleic acid based therapies.

Research Statement

Combining molecular engineering and multi-scale fabrication to innovate new biomaterials for medicine and biology  

The Veiseh Lab utilizes multi-scaled (nano, micro, and macro) fabrication techniques, combined with molecule engineering and cellular and molecular biology, to develop functional platforms of implantable devices tailored for applications in immunology, regenerative medicine, and disease monitoring. 

The role of implanted biomaterials and devices in modern medicine is rapidly expanding, but their efficacy is often compromised by host immune recognition and subsequent foreign body responses. Recent discoveries on physical properties (geometry, surface porosity, mechanical stiffness) and chemical properties (molecular surface engineering, reducing protein fouling, and biomolecule displays) that can modulate host immune responses are now creating new opportunities to innovate novel, long-term functioning implantable systems for a broad spectrum of clinical applications, including cell transplantation, localized controlled drug release, continuous sensing and monitoring of physiological conditions, and tissue regeneration.

While significant progress has been made, the clinical translation of these applications are still hindered by a lack of suitable biomaterials that can appropriately interact with the host immune system in a controlled and tailored manner. To achieve these goals, it will be necessary to:

  1. Expand our understanding of the interplay between materials properties and their influence on host immune responses,
  2. Based on discoveries, develop new materials with tailored properties to control host immune cell behavior, and
  3. Develop tools to non-invasively track cellular and biomolecular activity in vivo.

Selected Publications

Arturo Vegas*, Omid Veiseh*, Mads Gurtler, Jeffrey Millman, Felicia Pagliuca, Andrew Bader, Joshua Doloff, Jie Li, Michael Chen, Karsten Olejnik, Hok Hei Tam, Siddharth Jhunjhunwala, Erin Langan, Stephanie Aresta-Dasilva, Srujan Gandham, James McGarrigle, Matthew Bochenek, Jennifer Hollister-Lock, Jose Oberholzer, Dale Greiner, Gordon Weir, Douglas Melton, Robert Langer, and Daniel Anderson, Long term Glycemic Control Using Polymer Encapsulated, Human Stem-Cell Derived β-cells in Immune Competent Rodents. Nature Medicine, 22 (3); 306-311 (2016) (Featured on Cover)

Arturo Vegas, Omid Veiseh, Joshua Doloff, Minglin Ma, Hok Hei Tam, Katlin Bratlie, Jie Li, Andrew Bader, Erin Langan, Karsten Olejnik, Patrick Fenton, Jeon Woong Kang, Jennifer Hollister-Locke, Matthew Bochenek, Alan Chiu, Sean Siebert, Katherine Tang, Siddharth Jhunjhunwala, Stephanie Aresta-Dasilva, Nimit Dholakia, Raj Thakrar, Thema Vietti, Michael Chen, Josh Cohen, Karolina Siniakowicz, Meirigeng Qi, James McGarrigle, Stephen Lyle, David Harlan, Dale Greiner, Jose Oberholzer, Gordon Weir, Robert Langer, and Daniel Anderson, Combinatorial Development of Hydrogels that Mitigate the Foreign Body Response in Primates. Nature Biotechnology, 34 (3); 345-352 (2016)

Omid Veiseh*, Joshua Doloff*, Minglin Ma*, Arturo Vegas, Hok Hei Tam, Andrew Bader, Jie Li, Erin Langan, Jeffrey Wyckoff, Whitney Loo, Siddharth Jhunjhunwala, Alan Chiu, Sean Siebert, Katherine Tang, Jennifer Hollister-Lock, Stephanie Aresta-Dasilva, Matthew Bochenek, Joshua Mendoza-Elias, Yong Wang, Merigeng Qi, Danya Lavin, Michael Chen, Nimit Dholakia, Raj Thakrar, Igor Lacík, Gordon Weir, Jose Oberholzer, Dale Greiner, Robert Langer, and Daniel Anderson, Size- and Shape-Dependent Foreign Body Immune Response to Materials Implanted in Rodents and Non-Human Primates. Nature Materials, 14 (6); 643–651 (2015) (Featured on Cover)

Omid Veiseh
*, Benjamin C. Tang*, Kathryn A. Whitehead, Daniel G. Anderson, and Robert Langer, Managing Diabetes with Nanomedicine: Challenges and Opportunities.Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 14 (1); 45-57 (2015)

Omid Veiseh, Conroy Sun, Chen Fang, Narayan Bhattarai, Jonathan Gunn, Forrest Kievit, Kim Du, Stacey Hansen, Donghoon Lee, Richard Ellenbogen, Jim Olson, and Miqin Zhang, Specific targeting of brain tumors with an optical/MR imaging nanoprobe across the blood brain barrier. Cancer research, 69 (15); 6200-6007 (2009)

Omid Veiseh, Jonathan Gunn, Forrest Kievit, Conroy Sun, Chen Fang, Jerry Lee, and Miqin Zhang, Inhibition of tumor cell invasion with chlorotoxin-bound superparamagnetic nanoparticles. Small, 5 (2); 256-64 (2009)