Prof. Pankaj Karande

Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Post Doc., Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008
Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of California Santa Barbara, 2006
B.S., Chemical Engineering, Mumbai University Institute of Chemical Technology, 2000
Phone: 518.276.4459
Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Karande joined the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at Rensselaer in 2008. Before joining Rensselaer, Prof. Karande was a postdoctoral scholar in the Chemical Engineering Department and Center for Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He obtained his Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara in 2006 where his thesis work focused on the use of chemical enhancers for transdermal drug delivery. Prof. Karande has received numerous awards for his work including The Edison Award for best Product in Science and Medicine (2009), The Anna Fuller Fellowship in Molecular Oncology (2006-2007), Outstanding Pharmaceutical Paper by the Controlled Release Society (2005) and the Fionna Goodchild Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring (2004). Prof. Karande is an inventor on several patents in the area of Transdermal Formulation Discovery and Novel High Throughput Screening Platforms. He has served as scientific advisor to fqubed Inc., a soft materials innovation company (now part of Nuvo research).

Research Interests

Drug discovery, Drug delivery, Peptide engineering, High throughput screening, Vaccine design, Biomaterials and Diagnostics.

Current Research

Prof. Karande’s research program is focused on engineering peptides as novel drugs, drug carriers, affinity agents and multifunctional biomaterials for medical applications. Peptides play vital roles in various biological functions including membrane assembly, cell regulation and immunity. Inspired by their roles in physiological processes, the Karande Lab is evaluating the potential of short peptide sequences as therapeutics for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, immune disorders and as sub-unit vaccines against infectious diseases.

The basic paradigm in contemporary peptide design is based on mimicking and conserving structural themes available in nature. Although such techniques have shown some success they are inherently limited in their potential as they fail to encompass possible structural motifs associated with a broader range of functionalities not seen in nature. Additional limitation of these approaches is the confinement to natural diversities of motifs. Inclusion of synthetic diversities (non-canonical amino acids) in engineered peptide frameworks provides added flexibility in tailoring physical, chemical and biological properties. The lab is interested in exploring the functional landscape of synthetic peptides comprised of a mix of canonical and non-canonical amino acids.

Prof. Karande’s lab combines the group’s core expertise in design of novel high throughput screening platforms along with the advances in parallel peptide synthesis to rapidly synthesize and screen large  peptide libraries designed from canonical and non-canonical amino acids for predefined biological endpoints. Rational and iterative screening of multiple libraries provides leading hits that are subsequently evaluated in vitro for toxicity, immunogenicity and metabolism in complementary high throughput screening assays.

Honors and Awards

2012    Excellence in Classroom Instruction, School of Engineering

2012    Outstanding Teacher Award, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department

2010    Alzheimer’s Association New Investigator Research Grant

2010    Goldhirsh Brain Tumor Research Award

2009    Edison Award (Bronze, Best New Product in Science & Medical Category)

2006    Anna Fuller Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Oncology

2005    Fionna Goodchild Award for excellence in undergraduate mentoring

2005    Outstanding Pharmaceutical Paper Award by Controlled Release Society

2005    Author of Top 20 most frequently read engineering papers in PNAS

1998    Best article in Bombay Technologist

1996    Talented Students Scholarship, India

1996    The Arvind Mafatlal scholarship for undergraduate studies, India