Kathryn A. "Katie" Whitehead's lab builds tiny packages that deliver medicine to the right places in the body with the goal of engineering safe and effective drug delivery systems. She's currently studying the lipid particles that deliver the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

Why you should listen

Kathryn A. Whitehead is an associate professor and Dean's Career Fellow in the departments of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Her lab builds tiny packages that deliver medicine to the right places in the body. In addition to its work on vaccines, the Whitehead Lab also formulates protein therapeutics like insulin for oral administration and investigates how the maternal cells in breastmilk can be used to deliver medicines to infants.  

Whitehead earned a BS with distinction from the University of Delaware and a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara before an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellowship at MIT. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, the DARPA Director's Fellowship and the ASEE Curtis W. McGraw Research Award. She has also received the Controlled Release Society's Young Investigator Award and currently serves on the society's board of directors. An elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, she was named a "Pioneer" on the MIT Technology Review's "Innovators Under 35" list and one of the "Brilliant Ten" by Popular Science. Several of her patents have been licensed and sublicensed for reagent and therapeutic use.

Kathryn A. Whitehead’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Kathryn A. Whitehead

Live from TEDMonterey

Well, well, well! Notes from Session 3 of TEDMonterey

August 2, 2021

The central topic of Session 3 is, surely, on many of our minds: health. From the technology powering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to new Alzheimer’s treatment possibilities, these amazing speakers give a glimpse at exciting new frontiers of medicine. Plus, an artist drawing live onstage! The event: TEDMonterey: Session 3, hosted by TED’s Chris Anderson […]

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