Craig Duvall recently became the latest researcher with close ties to the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience to win the prestigious Young Investigator Award from the Society from Biomaterials (SFB).
Duvall, who earned his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (2007), is now an assistant professor at the Vanderbilt School of Engineering. He was recognized for the award at the SFB’s annual meeting (April 15-18), where he delivered an address entitled, “Next Generation Biomaterials for ‘On Demand’ Drug Release.”
For Duvall, the honor is just the latest example of how his interdisciplinary Ph.D. experience at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University is kind of like a gift that keeps on giving.
“It gave me a nice, broad training background,” says Duvall, who was co-advised by Bob Guldberg, now the Petit Institute’s executive director, as well as Bob Taylor at Emory. “So I got great hardcore engineering in the Guldberg lab and exposure to a lot of molecular and biological research in the Taylor lab. That kind of experience gave me a leg up in terms of starting my own lab.”
As principal investigator of the Advanced Therapeutics Laboratory at Vanderbilt, Duvall is helping to facilitate the kind of collaborative research environment he became accustomed to in Petit Institute and Coulter Department labs at Georgia Tech. His lab, focused specifically on drug delivery, applies “smart,” environmentally responsive polymers to develop novel approaches for overcoming pharmacological barriers.
After earning his Ph.D. at Georgia Tech in 2007, Duvall did his postdoctoral training in bioengineering at the University of Washington then joined the faculty at Vanderbilt, where he launched his lab in in 2010.
A rising star in his chosen field, Duvall is helping to chair several sessions at the annual meeting for the multidisciplinary Society for Biomaterials, an association of academic, healthcare, governmental, and business professionals dedicated to advancement in all areas of biomaterial science. And of course, Duvall will receive his Young Investigator Award, which he says, “is very gratifying. It gives you a sense of validation that your community really values your contributions.”
With the award, Duvall follows in the footsteps of previous winners with Petit Institute and/or Coulter Department connections, including current faculty members Julie Babensee, Andrés García, and Krishnendu Roy, as well as former members Todd McDevitt (now with the Gladstone Institutes) and Niren Murthy (now at U.C.-Berkeley).
“We are very proud of Craig and all of his accomplishments thus far in his career,” Guldberg says. “He's a great role model for our current students on combining interdisciplinary training with a lot of hard work to forge a new and very successful path of his own.”
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