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Dr. Kaushal Rege is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, AZ. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2004 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) under the mentorship of Professors Steven Cramer and Jonathan Dordick. Thereafter, he carried out postdoctoral research at the Center for Engineering in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, MA under the mentorship of Professor Martin L. Yarmush. Dr. Rege was awarded a postdoctoral traineeship award from the Prostate Cancer Research Program, Department of Defense during for his research during this time. Dr. Rege joined ASU as an assistant professor in 2007. Prof. Rege’s research at ASU focuses on molecular and nanoscale bioengineering solutions to critical problems in tissue repair, therapeutic delivery, and radiotherapy. Dr Rege has published 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts, in addition to several book chapters. He has served as co-editor two for books and has co-edited thematic and special issues for journals. He is an Associate Editor of two new journals - Nano LIFE and Technology - and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology. He is also an inventor on several patents and patent applications. Prof. Rege was elected to the college of fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE) in 2017. He received a New Investigator Award from the American Society for Photobiology in 2014, Young Investigator Award from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) a Fulton Exemplar Faculty Award from ASU in 2014, and an Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award in Chemical Engineering from ASU in 2010. Research in Dr. Rege’s laboratory has been funded by the NIH, NSF, DTRA, Arizona Biomedical Research Commission (ABRC), and private foundations. Prof. Rege has mentored several postdoctoral researchers, graduate, undergraduate, and high-school students at ASU. His mentees have won national-level awards, and have gone on to pursue academic and industrial careers.
Plasmonic nanoparticles (e.g. gold or silver nanoparticles) can efficiently absorb and scatter incident light, which makes them useful in biological imaging and as therapeutics. In this presentation, I will discuss the use of plasmonic nanoparticles in tissue sealing and radiation sensing. Plasmonic nanoparticles, including gold and silver nanoparticles, were incorporated within collagen, silk, and / or elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) matrices, leading to the formation of laser-activated tissue-integrating sealants (LATIS). Laser irradiation of these materials facilitated a photothermal response, which, in turn, resulted in rapid, fluid-tight sealing of ruptured intestinal tissue ex-vivo and incised skin in live mice. LATIS materials resulted in significant recoveries of tissue mechanical properties including tensile strength, leak pressure and burst pressure following rapid sealing. In addition, laser activation facilitates release of drugs encapsulated in these LATIS materials, indicating their potential in drug delivery. As a second application, we used the colorimetric properties of gold nanoparticles as indicators of ionizing radiation at doses used in clinical radiotherapy. Irradiation of colorless gold salts and templating molecules with high-energy photons (X-rays) resulted in the formation of gold nanoparticles which rendered a visible color change to the liquid dispersion or an encapsulating gel. The intensity of the color formed was a function of the radiation dose employed, and was used to calibrate this nanoscale dosimeter. Recent studies indicate that this approach can be employed to detect radiation doses delivered to certain regions in a spatially resolved manner, which opens up possibilities to detect “hot spots” in tissues. The efficacy of this novel dosimetry system was evaluated using clinical anthropomorphic phantoms. Our studies demonstrate that plasmonic nanoparticles can offer transformative solutions for several applications in light-triggered drug delivery, tissue sealing and repair, and radiation sensing.