Darin Y. Furgeson, PhD, ME

Languages

  • English
  • German

Academic Information

  • Departments: Chemical Engineering - Adjunct Assistant Professor, Pediatrics - Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Divisions: Pediatric Administration

Academic Office Information

  • 801-581-7271
  • 421 Wakara Way #311
    Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Academic Bio

Darin Y. Furgeson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Utah. He also holds adjunct appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics, Chemical Engineering, and Bioengineering, and Pharmacology/Toxicology. Before joining the University of Utah in 2009, Furgeson was an Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2005-2008. In 1998 he graduated from the University of Utah with a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering followed by a Masters in Chemical Engineering in 2000. Under the direction of Distinguished Professor Sung Wan Kim, an internationally known expert in drug and gene delivery, he earned his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Utah in 2003. Furgeson then joined Dr. Ashutosh Chilkoti, the Theo Pilkington Professor of Biomedical Engineering, at Duke University as a post-doctoral researcher from 2003-2005. At Duke, Furgeson broadened his technical and knowledge base by moving from synthetic polymer chemistry and gene delivery to molecular biology, protein engineering, and novel drug delivery designs with thermo-responsive elastin-like polypeptide (ELP)-based recombinant biopolymers. Furgeson’s primary research interests are in interventional oncology, targeted drug delivery, siRNA gene therapy across the blood brain barrier for neurodegenerative disorders, nanotoxicology, and pediatric environmental health.

Furgeson has numerous collaborations with the Departments of Interventional Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering, Pediatric Pathology, Pediatrics, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute in addition to the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL), and NIH. Current disease targets include: liver cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and brain tumors. Specifically, the Furgeson Lab’s research foci are:

1. Cleaning Dirty Tumor Margins with Synchronous Thermo-targeted Chemotherapy and Microwave Thermal Ablation. (Interventional Oncology and Targeted Drug Delivery)

2. Neuro-targeted siRNA Delivery across the Blood Brain Barrier to Treat ALS and Brain Tumors. (Gene Therapy)

3. Establishing the Zebrafish as a Whole Organism Nanotoxicity Model for Pediatric Environmental Health. (Nanotoxicology; Pediatric Environmental Health)

Furgeson has published several papers in cell- and site-specific drug delivery, gene delivery, and nanotoxicity. A primary area of research is simultaneous destruction of the tumor core by microwave thermal ablation and induction of hyperthermic isotherms at the tumor margins for thermo-targeted chemotherapy. This thermo-targeted system makes use of clinically accepted microwave thermal ablation, biocompatible ELP-based diblock bio-copolymers and hybrid bioorganic-copolymers, and potent chemotherapeutics, which suffer from poor water-solubility and the use of toxic and antiquated delivery vehicles. Furgeson is developing novel microwave antenna designs for real-time 3D antenna placement and quasi-spherical ablation volumes extending from the microwave tip for use in interventional oncology and cardiology. Furgeson has extended the seminal model proposed by Helmut Ringsdorf in 1975, to recombinant, biopolymer and hybrid bioorganic “macromolecular solubilizers”. The Furgeson Lab has pioneered polymeric cloning as the means to control numerous physicochemical parameters of recombinant biopolymers. This unparalleled genetic scheme provides facile control of modularity, architectural design, inclusion of enviro-sensitive motifs, and resulting monodisperse molecular weights, to name but a few, for rapid pre-clinical development of novel drug delivery vehicles. Such control has yet to be realized in synthetic polymer systems. The polymeric cloning blueprints provide schematics for developing a rigorous biomaterial platform, a drug delivery matrix with easily exchanged functional blocks for conjugation of small molecules, peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, and/or imaging agents; blocks for thermo-targeting, increased drug solubility, or extended half-life; and N- and/or C-terminal groups for mono- or multi-modal expression of targeting ligands such as antibodies, peptides, scFvs, aptamers, and beyond. Genetically engineered biopolymers are the next generation of drug delivery vehicles. All recombinant biopolymer systems are expressed in bacterial cultures and non-chromatographically purified by alternating cold and hot cycles with negligible endotoxin levels. With collaboration from Surgical Oncology, Furgeson hopes to initiate Phase I clinical trials of ELP-based drug delivery vehicles in late 2011 or early 2012.

siRNA gene therapy across the blood brain barrier incorporates an electrostatic condensing block and putative neuro-targeting domains to facilitate transcytosis across the blood brain barrier. Current mRNA targets encode for pro-oncogenic pathways in brain tumors and oxidative stress pathways in ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. Thermosensitive ELP is utilized as a non-chromatographic purification tag to produce the neuro-targeted siRNA carriers.

Nanotoxicology is a rapidly growing field of research with applications in bioengineering, environmental toxicology, clinical medicine, and pediatric environmental health. Furgeson is establishing the zebrafish as a whole organism model to assay nanotoxicity. Zebrafish have > 80% DNA homology with humans, are transparent, and possess corresponding organs to humans except for lungs and a two-chambered heart. Zebrafish also possess a patent blood brain barrier. Vast arrays of engineered nanomaterials are currently under study including: gold and silver nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, silica-coated nanoparticles, C60-derivatives, and mining waste contaminants such as uranium, arsenic, mercury, and lead. FDA-approved polymers used in drug delivery, polymers in pre-clinical trials, cytotoxins and their derivatives are also being tested. All nanotoxicology screens are related as a function of physicochemical metrics such as particle size, surface functionalization, morphology, and surface charge.

Furgeson has presented his work at numerous conferences and symposia both domestic and international. He has also served on several NSF, NIH, EU, and other international grant review panels on nanomaterials, cancer nanotechnology, drug and gene delivery platforms, translational oncology, and nanotoxicology. He is an active member of AACR, AAPS, ACS, ASGCT, CRS, STM, and SOT.

Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship Duke University, Center for Biomolecular & Tissue Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training University of Utah
Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Ph.D.
Graduate Training University of Utah
Chemical Engineering
M.E.
Undergraduate University of Utah
Chemical Engineering
B.Sc.

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Fako VE, Furgeson DY (Published). Assessing biomaterial nanotoxicity with a novel zebrafish model. Adv Drug Deliv Rev, 61(6), 478-486.
  2. Bar-Ilan O, Albrecht R, Fako V, and Furgeson DY (2009). Toxicity assessments of multi-sized gold and silver nanoparticles in zebrafish embryos. Small, 5(16), 1897-1910.
  3. Bae Y, Buresh RA, Williamson TP, Chen TH, Furgeson DY (2007). Intelligent biosynthetic nanobiomaterials for hyperthermic combination chemotherapy and thermal drug targeting of HSP90 inhibitor geldanamycin. J Control Release, 122(1), 16-23.
  4. Liu W, Dreher MR, Furgeson DY, Peixoto KV, Yuan H, Zalutsky MR, Chilkoti A (2006). Tumor accumulation, degradation and pharmacokinetics of elastin-like polypeptides in nude mice. J Control Release, 116(2), 170-8.
  5. Furgeson DY, Dreher MR, Chilkoti A (2006). Structural optimization of a "smart" doxorubicin-polypeptide conjugate for thermally targeted delivery to solid tumors. J Control Release, 110(2), 362-9.
  6. Janat-Amsbury MM, Yockman JW, Lee M, Kern S, Furgeson DY, Bikram M, Kim SW (2005). Local, non-viral IL-12 gene therapy using a water soluble lipopolymer as carrier system combined with systemic paclitaxel for cancer treatment. J Control Release, 101(1-3), 273-85.
  7. Furgeson DY, Yockman JW, Janat MM, Kim SW (2004). Tumor efficacy and biodistribution of linear polyethylenimine-cholesterol/DNA complexes. Mol Ther, 9(6), 837-45.
  8. Janat-Amsbury MM, Yockman JW, Lee M, Kern S, Furgeson DY, Bikram M, Kim SW (2004). Combination of local, nonviral IL12 gene therapy and systemic paclitaxel treatment in a metastatic breast cancer model. Mol Ther, 9(6), 829-36.
  9. Furgeson DY, Chan WS, Yockman JW, Kim SW (2003). Modified linear polyethylenimine-cholesterol conjugates for DNA complexation. Bioconjug Chem, 14(4), 840-7.
  10. Furgeson DY, Cohen RN, Mahato RI, Kim SW (2002). Novel water insoluble lipoparticulates for gene delivery. Pharm Res, 19(4), 382-90.
  11. Benns JM, Maheshwari A, Furgeson DY, Mahato RI, Kim SW (2001). Folate-PEG-folate-graft-polyethylenimine-based gene delivery. J Drug Target, 9(2), 123-39.

Book Chapter

  1. Bohnsack P, Assemi S, Miller JD, Grainger DW, Furgeson DY (2012). The primacy of rigorous physicochemical characterization of nanomaterials for reliable toxicity assessment: a review of the zebrafish nanotoxicology model. In John Walker (Ed.), Methods of Nanotoxicity (926, pp. 261-316). Humana Press.
  2. Kwon GS, Furgeson DY (2007). Biodegradable drug delivery systems: block copolymers and block copolypeptides. In Jenkin M (Ed.), Biomedical Polymers (pp. 83-110). Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing.
  3. Furgeson DY, Kim SW (2006). Recent advances in polyethylenimine gene carrier design. In Svenson S (Ed.), Polymeric Drug Delivery Volume 1 - Particulate Drug Carriers (ACS Symposium Series, 923, pp. 182-197). Washington, DC: American Chemical Society.
  4. Mahato RI, Furgeson DY, Maheshwari A, Han SO, Kim SW (2000). Polymeric gene delivery for cancer treatment. In International Symposium on Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Systems in Conjunction with 2nd Asian International Symposium on Polymeric Biomaterials Science. Seoul, South Korea.

Abstract

  1. Bar-Ilan O, Albrecht RM, Fako VE, Furgeson DY (2009). Nanotoxicity assessments of multi-sized silver and gold nanoparticles in zebrafish embryos [Abstract]. 48th Annual Meeting and Tox Expo; Society of Toxicology; Baltimore, MD.
  2. Chen TH, Bae Y, Furgeson DY (2008). Intelligent thermosensitive cationic diblock copolymers for multimodal gene delivery [Abstract]. 236th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition; Philadelphia, PA.
  3. Bar-Ilan O, Albrecht RM, Peterson RE, Furgeson DY (2008). Zebrafish as an alternative model to assess biomaterial nanotoxicity [Abstract]. 8th International Meeting on Zebrafish Development and Genetics, Madison, WI.
  4. Chen TH, Nejati E, Bae Y, Buresh RA, Furgeson DY (2008). Thermosensitive bioorganic triblock polymers for tumor selective targeting of geldanamycin. [Abstract]. 35th Annual Meeting & Exposition of the Controlled Release Society; New York, NY.
  5. Bae Y, Furgeson DY (2007). An intelligent biosynthetic nanobiomaterial (IBN) for thermotargeted tumor delivery of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) inhibitor geldanamycin combining chemotherapy and adjuvant thermotherapy [Abstract]. AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition; San Diego, CA.
  6. Furgeson DY, Chen TH, Bae Y, Williamson TP, Buresh RA (2007). Intelligent biosynthetic nanobiomaterials for multimodal targeted drug delivery [Abstract]. AAPS National Biotechnology Conference; San Diego, CA.
  7. Chen TH, Furgeson DY (2007). Thermally sensitive cationic elastin diblock copolymers for systemic gene delivery [Abstract]. 13th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Drug Delivery Systems; Salt Lake City, UT.
  8. Poppe CD, Bae Y, Chen TH, Forrest ML, Kwon GS, Furgeson DY (2007). Recombinant elastin diblock copolymers for hyperthermic drug delivery [Abstract]. University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center; First Annual UWCCC Scientific Retreat; Madison, WI.
  9. Poppe CD, Forrest ML, Kwon GS, Furgeson DY (2006). Recombinant elastin diblock copolymers for hyperthermic drug delivery [Abstract]. University of Tokyo Symposium on NanoBio Integration; NanoBio-Tokyo; Tokyo, Japan.
  10. Jeon WB, Chen TH, Poppe CD, Furgeson DY (2006). Elastin fusion copolymers for supramolecular selfassembly of thermosensitive micelles [Abstract]. Gordon Research Conference: Drug Carriers in Medicine and Biology; Big Sky, MT.
  11. Jeon WB, Chen TH, Trabbic-Carlson K, Furgeson DY (2006). Thermoresponsive elastin biopolymers for multimodal systemic cancer gene therapy [Abstract]. 33rd Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Controlled Release Society; Vienna, Austria.
  12. Liu W, Dreher MR, Furgeson DY, Zalutsky MR, Chilkoti A (2006). Radiolabeling and biodistribution of elastin-like polypeptide in response to tumor hyperthermia [Abstract]. Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center Annual Meeting; Durham, NC.
  13. Chen TH, Jeon WB, Trabbic-Carlson K, Furgeson DY (2006). Thermosensitive elastin biopolymers for multimodal targeted cancer gene therapy [Abstract]. Pharmaceutical Sciences Recruitment Weekend; Madison, WI.
  14. Furgeson DY, Chilkoti A (2005). Spacer arm effects of doxorubicin from an elastin-like polypeptidedoxorubicin conjugate. (nominated for outstanding pharmaceutical paper award, nominated for innovative aspects of oral drug delivery and absorption graduate/post-doc award). [Abstract]. Controlled Release Society; Miami, FL.
  15. Liu W, Dreher MR, Furgeson DY, Zalutsky M, Chilkoti A (2005). Radiolabeling and biodistribution of an elastin-like polypeptide in response to tumor hyperthermia. (nominated for best paper). [Abstract]. Controlled Release Society; Miami, FL.
  16. Furgeson DY, Dreher MR, Chilkoti A (2004). Elastin-like polypeptide delivery of doxorubicin through pHsensitive linkers [Abstract]. Gordon Research Conference: Drug Carriers in Medicine and Biology; Big Sky, MT.
  17. Kim SW, Furgeson DY, Yockman JW (2003). Functional and biospecific PEI carriers for therapeutic plasmid DNA delivery [Abstract]. Advanced Polymeric Materials and Technology; Gyeongju, South Korea.
  18. Furgeson DY, Kim SW (2003). Linear PEI-cholesterol conjugates for the LDL-R pathway [Abstract]. 6th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene Therapy; Washington, D.C.
  19. Janat MM, Yockman JW, Furgeson DY, Fowers K, Kim SW (2003). Synergistic effects of local IL-12 gene therapy with a novel biodegradable paclitaxel delivery system [Abstract]. American Society of Clinical Oncology; Chicago, IL.
  20. Furgeson DY, Kim SW (2003). Modified linear PEI-cholesterol conjugates for plasmid DNA delivery [Abstract]. CRS Winter Symposia & 11th International Symposium & Exposition on Recent Advances in Drug Delivery Systems; Salt Lake City, UT.
  21. Furgeson DY, Yockman JW, Mahato RI, Kim SW (2002). Biodistribution of labeled water insoluble lipoparticulates (ISLP) and plasmid DNA after murine tail vein injection [Abstract]. Controlled Release Society, Seoul Korea.
  22. Furgeson DY, Mahato RI, Kim SW (2001). Synthesis and characterization of insoluble lipopolymers for gene delivery [Abstract]. American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists; Denver, CO.
  23. Mahato RI, Lee M, Han SO, Maheshwari A, Furgeson DY, Kim SW (2001). Water soluble lipopolymers for interleukin-12 gene delivery [Abstract]. Controlled Release Society; San Diego, CA.
  24. Benns JM, Maheshwari A, Furgeson DY, Mahato RI, Kim SW (2000). Folate-PEG-Folate-graft-PEI gene carrier [Abstract]. International Symposium on Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Systems in Conjunction with 2nd Asian International Symposium on Polymeric Biomaterials Science; Cheju Island, South Korea.

Patent

  1. Furgeson DY, Bae Y, Kwon GS (2007). Elastin-like polymer delivery vehicles. U.S. Patent No. International Application #PCT/US2007/068800. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. Furgeson DY, Bae Y (2007). Elastin-like polymer delivery vehicles. U.S. Patent No. USP Application #11/747,759. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  3. Furgeson DY, Kim SW (2007). Linear polyethylenimine-sterol conjugates for gene delivery. University of Utah. U.S. Patent No. U.S.Patent #7,183,263. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  4. Mahato RI, Han SO, Furgeson DY, Kim SW (2004). A novel cationic lipopolymer as a biocompatible gene delivery agent. University of Utah. U.S. Patent No. U.S. Patent # 6,696,038. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.