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SRI International’s Parijat Bhatnagar Wins Prestigious NIH New Innovator Award
Menlo Park, Calif. – October 20, 2016 – SRI International scientist Parijat Bhatnagar, Ph.D., program director for Cell-Based Medicine in SRI Biosciences, has received a 2016 National Institute of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award. This award, part of the NIH “High-Risk, High-Reward Research” program, is designed to support scientific investigators with exceptional creativity who are conducting high-impact research.
As part of the award, Bhatnagar has received $3 million in funding from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering , a part of the NIH, for five years toward development of a therapeutic platform using cell engineering and directing it against dengue virus. His work in immunotherapies for solid tumors is also funded by the National Cancer Institute’s Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies program, which supports potentially transformative technologies.
Therapeutic windows of drugs vary dramatically for each individual and the degree of a disease as it evolves. Excessive doses can lead to toxicity, while insufficient doses are ineffective and lead to drug resistance. Bhatnagar and his team are engineering cells that will actively travel to disease sites in the human body, assess the disease burden, and synthesize proportionate amounts of therapeutics to neutralize the disease. “This has the potential to replace passive drugs with ones that will actively search for disease and then regulate the assembly of complex drugs at the desired site of action in the body,” said Bhatnagar.
“Parijat is a strong example of the forward-looking, innovative researchers at SRI who are developing solutions to some of the most critical problems that impact people worldwide,” said Nathan Collins, Ph.D., vice president, SRI Biosciences.