Welcome to the Laboratory for Drug Delivery!
Dr. Prausnitz and his colleagues carry out research on biophysical
methods of drug delivery, which employ microneedles,
ultrasound, lasers, electric fields, heat, convective forces
and other physical means to control the transport of drugs,
proteins, genes and vaccines into and within the body.
A major area of focus involves the use of microneedle patches
to apply vaccines to the skin in a painless, minimally invasive
manner. In collaboration with Emory University, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention and other organizations, Dr. Prausnitzʼs group is advancing microneedles from
device design and fabrication through pharmaceutical formulation and pre-clinical animal
studies through studies in human subjects. In addition to developing a self-administered
influenza vaccine using microneedles, Dr. Prausnitz is translating microneedles technology
especially to make vaccination in developing countries more effective.
The Prausnitz group has also developed hollow microneedles for injection into the skin and
into the eye in collaboration with Emory University. In the skin, research focuses on insulin
administration to human diabetic patients to increase onset of action by targeting insulin
delivery to the skin. In the eye, hollow microneedles enable precise targeting of injection to
the suprachoroidal space and other intraocular tissues for minimally invasive delivery to treat
macular degeneration and other retinal diseases.
Dr. Prausnitz and colleagues also study novel mechanisms to deliver proteins, DNA and other
molecules into cells. Cavitation bubble activity generated by ultrasound and by laser-excitation
of carbon nanoparticles breaks open a small section of the cell membrane and thereby enables
entry of molecules, which is useful for gene-based therapies and targeted drug delivery.
In addition to research activities, Dr. Prausnitz teaches an introductory course on engineering
calculations, as well as two advanced courses on pharmaceuticals and technical communication,
both of which he developed. He also serves the broader scientific and business communities
as a frequent consultant, advisory board member and expert witness.
Dr. Prausnitz is the J. Erskine Love Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the director of the Center for Drug
Design, Development and Delivery.