MCB faculty collaborate on NSF grants at Beckman

ChBE professor Hyunjoon (Joon) Kong recently received two grants from the NSF to fund interdisciplinary research at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, including a look at how neurons and muscle cells communicate with each other and also to develop a drug delivery system for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. He will be collaborating with Martha Gillette (professor of Cell and Developmental Biology) and Hee Jung Chung (associate professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology).

The grant from the National Science Foundation will facilitate the study of how neurons and muscle cells communicate with each other. “My group is interested in engineering functional muscle and using it to assemble autonomous bioactuator systems,” said Hyunjoon Kong, a Robert W. Schafer professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “I will be working with Martha Gillette’s group, who are experts in neurobiology and can guide us in what type of neural cells to look at,” Kong said.

The second grant, from the Alzheimer’s Foundation, will fund research by the Kong group in collaboration with Hee Jung Chung, an associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology and Beckman Institute faculty member. The grant will study how a drug that has the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease can be delivered into the body. The drug was developed to target tau proteins that, along with β-amyloid proteins, cause the disease. “Historically, researchers have been focused on treatments that reduce the β-amyloid proteins. However, a large group of patients do not respond to those treatments because the tau proteins are also responsible,” Kong said.

Press release courtesy of Ananya Sen and Beckman Institute.

Read the full article here.

January 30, 2020 All News