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Piyush K. Jain

Piyush K. Jain

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, UF Health Cancer Center, University of Florida
Dr. Jain joined as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida in the Fall of 2018. Prior to joining UF, Dr. Jain served as a Research Scientist in the lab of Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Before joining MIT, he received an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical sciences (major) and Chemistry (minor) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and a Bachelors of Pharmacy degree from Dr. Hari Singh Gour University in India. During his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Simon H. Friedman, his research focused on engineering new light-responsive biochemical tools to control biological processes and deliver large biomolecules for the treatment of diseases. Dr. Jain is known for the development of light-activated RNA interference (LARI) for the treatment of cancer and for creating an insulin photoactivated depot (PAD) for the treatment of type I diabetes. As a postdoctoral associate at MIT, Dr. Jain with his team developed photoactivatable protease nanosensors for more reliable cancer detection in the urine and also led the development of CRISPR-plus (CRISPR-precise light-mediated unveiling of sgRNAs) technology that allows control of CRISPR activity with light. All these advanced systems present approaches to control biological processes with light in a spatiotemporal manner. In addition, Dr. Jain developed a targeted delivery system for CRISPR/Cas systems known as CRISPR-GPS using tandem peptide-lipid constructs. The Jain lab is currently interested in improving the efficiency and specificity of CRISPR/Cas technologies and on developing targeted delivery of nucleic acids and proteins for efficient CRISPR-mediated genome editing. The long-term goal of the Jain lab is to translate these systems into patients for better disease diagnosis and treatment of genetic disorders.

Dr. Jain has received multiple travel awards by American Chemical Society, won several best poster awards and honored with prestigious fellowships including dissertation research fellowship and preparing future faculty fellowship (PFF) at UMKC. His work has been published in the top journals including JACS, Angewandte Chemie, ACS Nano, Nature Protocols, NAR, etc. and he has been listed as an inventor on multiple patents and disclosures. His work, on LARI, PAD, and site-specific nucleic acid labeling using the ULTIMATE reagent has been featured on the cover/frontispiece of multiple journals. His work on the ULTIMATE reagent, PAD, and CRISPR+ has been profiled broadly by over 100 websites in the scientific news, blogs and media including F1000 Prime, CBS, NBC, News Tribune, MIT News, International Business Times, TED Blog, ChemistryViews, Futurism, Sina News, Phs.org, etc.

While at UMKC, Dr. Jain served as a graduate teaching assistant and as a part of his PFF fellowship, he received an opportunity to teach a course on medicinal chemistry to a class of over 100 students as a guest instructor. During his career, he tutored, trained and mentored several high school students, undergraduate students and graduate students and has received teaching certificates from UMKC and MIT. Dr. Jain was elected as the chair of advocacy and community building committees by MIT Postdoctoral Association and has been invited to serve as a panelist for graduate students and as a reviewer for multiple scientific journals that he continually supports. Besides this, Dr. Jain has been instrumental in preparing, writing and securing over $7.7 Million USD from NSF, NIH and DARPA grants for his academic mentors.

How gene edited white blood cells are helping fight cancer

Nov 19, 2019 02:37 am UTC| Insights & Views Science Health

For the first time in the United States, a gene editing tool has been used to treat advanced cancer in three patients and showed promising early results in a pilot phase 1 clinical trial. So far the treatment appears safe,...

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