Dr. Kathryn (Katie) Whitehead is an Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University where she also holds a courtesy appointment in Biomedical Engineering. Research in Katie’s lab group focuses on therapeutic drug delivery. Their goal is to make the process of drug delivery more efficient by sending medicine only to the specific parts of the body where they are needed. Katie is also working to create new precision medicines using RNA and DNA and to develop the drug delivery systems for these future medicines. Since she was a PhD student, Katie has been interested in gardening. She started with just a single tomato plant, and now she grows over 20 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, as well as other vegetables, fruits, and berries. Katie received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and her PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. Katie has received numerous awards and honors, including the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the DARPA Director’s Fellowship, the Controlled Release Society Capsugel/Pfizer Oral Drug Delivery Award, the Diabetes Technology Society Peterson Research Award, a UC Graduate Research and Education in Adaptive Biotechnology Fellowship, an NIH Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellowship, the Kun Li Award for Excellence in Education, the Popular Science Brilliant 10 Award, and very recently the 2018 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award. She has also been named an MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 and the 2016 Young Innovator Award from Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE). In our interview, Katie speaks more about her experiences in life and science.
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