Drexel Engineering to Launch Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series
Dr. Cameron Abrams will focus on the multi-front fight against AIDS and how the development of a new microbicide can play an important role in interrupting the transmission of HIV.
February 1, 2013
Drexel Engineering will kick off the first event of the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series Feb. 13, 2013 at 11 a.m. with Dr. Cameron Abrams, professor of chemical and biological engineering and an expert in large-scale molecular simulation and design of biological molecules and materials. Abrams will lecture on how novel microbicide molecules developed in collaboration with the College of Medicine can play an important role in the multi-front fight against AIDS.
“We’re excited to launch the series and Cameron’s research, amongst other faculty members, exemplifies the interdisciplinary work happening at Drexel,” said Dr. Joseph B. Hughes, dean of the College of Engineering. Hughes is hosting the series to highlight the work of newly promoted professors and to showcase the impact of Drexel faculty-led research.
At the lecture, Abrams will discuss the on-going collaboration between the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine that’s developing a new class of microbicides that relies on understanding physical properties of the virus in order to find and exploit its weak points. Abrams will share how the team has developed a molecule that can effectively trick the virus into opening itself as if it were infecting a cell, which irreversibly disables the virus. This seek-and-destroy molecule is designed to bind to the virus in two specific locations simultaneously and in so doing, imparting a stress to the virus that triggers its destruction. This is the first example of a molecule that acts in this manner and is a promising avenue to for the development of future microbicides against enveloped viruses such as HIV. Abrams is the lead on the project funded by the National Institute of Health.
“I am enormously fortunate to have found collaborators in the College of Medicine willing to entertain some engineering-inspired ideas about how to combat the AIDS virus at the molecular level,” Said Abrams.
Abrams earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University and his doctoral degree in chemical engineering from University of California at Berkeley. After two years of postdoctoral studies at the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, Abrams joined the faculty in Drexel’s chemical and biological engineering department in 2002. He was promoted with tenure to associate professor in 2008 and to professor in 2012. Abrams is the recipient of an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and a Drexel Graduate Mentor-of-the-Year Award.
The Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series is free and open to the University. The schedule for the upcoming series will be available soon.