Debra Auguste wins prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Grant will support research on molecular aspects of drug delivery as well as educational programs

Debra Auguste won the prestigious NSF CAREER Award. The grant will support research on drug-delivery vehicles at the molecular level.

Cambridge, Mass. - February 22, 2011 - Debra Auguste, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has won a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The award honors Auguste as one of the most promising up-and-coming researchers in her field and provides an annual grant of $100,000 to support up to five years of laboratory research and educational outreach.

Auguste's project, titled "Molecular Diversity in Drug Delivery Design:An Integrated Approach to Research and Education," will investigate ways of building drug delivery vehicles that complement the heterogeneous display of molecules on cell membranes. Her work targets inflamed endothelial cells, which often present in cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Auguste will also develop six educational modules to share concepts in bioengineering with students at local high schools. The students will learn how the assembly of lipids, DNA, and cells are coordinated to produce specific functions.

Auguste uses phase-separated domains to organize molecules on the surface of liposomes, mimicking the way cells organize molecules within lipid rafts.

(Photo courtesy of SEAS graduate student Dariela Almeda.)


Research in Auguste's group is primarily focused on developing new biomimetic materials for drug delivery and tissue engineering.

A chemical engineer by training, Auguste holds a bachelor's degree from MIT and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. Prior to joining the Harvard faculty in 2006, she was a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT.


About the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.

Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from junior faculty members at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

Topics: Bioengineering, Awards