Bioengineer Kevin McHugh will start on July 1, with an offie and lab at the BioScience Research Collaborative
. Rice won a $2 million CPRIT grants to recruit him to the university.
McHugh comes to Rice from the Langer Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is a senior postdoctoral associate. He earned his undergraduate degree at Case Western Reserve University and his doctorate at Boston University, both in biomedical engineering.
McHugh focuses on biomaterials for drug delivery and regenerative medicine. He was lead author of a September 2017 Science paper on 3D printing of fillable microstructures for drug delivery.
"As a postdoc, my focus has been on a single-injection vaccine to get the specific release kinetics that will confer some benefit for the developing world, where you don't necessarily get to see a patient more than once," he said.
McHugh plans to adapt his delivery platforms for immunotherapy drugs called stimulator of interferon gene (aka STING) agonists.
"If we can reignite the immune system inside a tumor, where it's normally dormant, we can have immunotherapy that is a lot more effective," McHugh said.
The grants are among more than $31 million CPRIT awarded in the current round to recruit eminent cancer researchers to Texas. CPRIT was approved by state taxpayers in a 2007 ballot initiative, providing $3 billion to support cancer research statewide. To date, the agency has awarded $2.3 billion in grants to Texas researchers, institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs.