Carlos Castro, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is set to spend this summer conducting research in Dublin, Ireland, after being named a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grant winner.
The prestigious and highly competitive funding award helps continue strengthening international research ties at The Ohio State University.
Castro, a member of Ohio State’s Institute for Materials Research, will work with partners at Ireland’s leading materials science center, the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Centre, collaborating with colleagues at Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).
With the project, “Multiscale targeted delivery of DNA origami nanodevices,” Castro said he will work with researchers Cathal Kearney and Fergal O’Brien at the RCSI Tissue Engineering Research Group to “establish methods for the targeted delivery of DNA nanodevices to cells or tissues by incorporating the devices into biomaterials that can safely be injected into biological systems.”
“This collaboration will allow for DNA nanodevices developed at The Ohio State University, that have a wide range of possible functions, to be fully explored for medical applications by delivering them using polymer materials,” Castro said.
Technological devices are all made from some form or combination of metals, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers or even biomaterials, each advancing the capabilities of science daily.
Kearney said the RCSI and AMBER communities, as well as other collaborating researchers, are thrilled to host Carlos this summer. Kearney first met Castro as a Fulbright Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“A chance get together at a conference lead to the nucleus of a project idea that we’ve built on from afar. Through the collaboration, using designs from Carlos’ lab, it became possible for us to become, to our knowledge, the first lab in Ireland to generate DNA origami,” Kearney said. “We’ve already generated promising preliminary data, and having Carlos working with us at the bench for several months should yield lots exciting output by working at the intersection of our respective fields.”
Another aspect of the project is the collaboration with advanced imaging teams at the AMBER center. Researchers collaborating with Trinity College Dublin professor Valeria Nicolosi, who leads the Laboratory for Characterisation and Processing of Advanced Materials, will study how single nanodevices interact with cells to improve nanodevice designs for targeting and sensing applications.
Castro hopes work conducted this summer establishes the foundation for a long-term collaboration between Ohio State and the AMBER center, allowing for continued funding and research, as well as the opportunity to send student researchers back and forth between Ohio State and Trinity College Dublin.
“The Fulbright experience I had in the U.S. opened so many doors for me and long lasting friendships and collaborations that contribute greatly to my career to this day,” Kearney said. “The RCSI Department of Anatomy has a rich history of incoming and outgoing Fulbrighters, and we’re delighted for Carlos to join that group. Beyond the obvious academic and collaborative potential, we are already planning activities to fulfil the cultural exchange aspects of the Fulbright program to make the visit a memorable one for Carlos and his family.”
Ohio State is a top Fulbright grant producing institution, with nine Fulbright Scholars and 10 Fulbright Students in the 2017-18 academic year, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The Fulbright Program awards grants annually and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Story by Mike Huson, IMR Public Relations Coordinator