Lincoln, Neb. —Andrew Hamann, research assistant professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Department of Biological Systems Engineering, was selected to receive the 2022 American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy Career Development Award, Haumann is one of six researchers to receive this early career award, which are annually awarded for the society. The award comes with a $100,000 grant to pursue innovative gene therapy research.
The award will promote Hamann’s work in developing materials that deliver nucleic acids, like DNA, mRNA or smaller molecules called miRNA. In particular, Hamann, in partnership with Angela Pannier, Swarts Family Chair in Biological Systems Engineering, is engineering extracellular vesicles derived from adult stem cells as natural materials to deliver the nucleic acids, as a type gene therapy. Hamann is most interested in pursing methods to target these extracellular vesicles to cells to achieve high levels of delivery, specifically to target these vesicles to heart tissue to treat cardiovascular diseases. However, his platform technology can easily be re-tooled for other applications, including vaccines.
The purpose of Career Development Award, the ASGCT says, is “to support independent transformative pilot studies in gene and cell therapy by ASGCT members, particularly those ideas that would be challenging to fund with normal funding mechanisms.” The society aims to help the grant recipients “generate their own independent preliminary data to use in larger proposals,” such as National Institutes of Health grants.
“I am honored to receive the career development award from ASGCT,” Hamann said. “With mentoring from Dr. Pannier, this grant will be instrumental in accomplishing the early work necessary to develop and validate our novel system for engineering extracellular vesicles capable of targeted delivery of biotherapeutics, as potential new drugs.”
The grant to Hamann is the latest major national award to a faculty member at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources' Pannier Lab for Engineering Biomaterials and Gene Delivery.