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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


Todd D. Giorgio, Ph.D.

Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Cancer Biology Chemical Engineering
Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Contact Information:

Vanderbilt University School of Engineering
5824 Stevenson Center
Nashville, TN 37232
Fax: 615-343-7919

Research Specialty

The application of quantitative analytical and calculational tools, which are primarily optical techniques, to solve significant problems in mammalian systems.

Research Description

The characterization of many interesting and important problems in biology and medicine demands rapid, perhaps continuous, measurements conducted on single cells. Our research team seeks to develop quantitative analytical and calculational tools used to understand fundamental cellular behavior. The application of these tools, which are primarily optical techniques, to the solution of significant problems in mammalian systems is our overall aim. The practical application of human gene therapy delivered by cationic liposome vehicles has been limited by insufficient transgene synthesis. Our group is working toward identification of the key regulatory events in intracellular plasmid delivery and processing. We use our results to design and test specific, directed modifications of the gene delivery process for optimization of transgene synthesis. Understanding the cellular roles in vascular disease and post-angioplasty restenosis is critical to the development of successful clinical interventions. The relatively uncontrolled conditions of most in vivo studies, however, often leads to difficult interpretation of the measurements obtained by these techniques. Our team seeks to characterize platelet-leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions in an in vitro model of vascular damage which includes controlled fluid shear forces to test and develop antithrombotic strategies.

Current Projects Include: 1. In a single cell, how is intracellular plasmid copy number related to transgene expression? 2. What mechanisms are responsible for cellular binding and incorporation of cationic liposome/plasmid complexes? 3. How does intracellular processing of delivered plasmid modulate transgene expression? 4. What is the significance of platelet activation in the fluid suspension in modulating platelet and leukocyte adhesion to vascular damage? 5. Which lymphocytes form platelet conjugates and adhere to vascular damage during exposure to fluid shear stress? 6. What is the role of lymphocyte-platelet conjugates in the cellular response to vascular damage?