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The 2014 Mike & Lucy Robbins Fellowship Award Winner

TannerHillTanner K. Hill, PhD Candidate
Virginia Tech/Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences
Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Research Overview:
We are investigating the synthesis and activity of hyaluronic acid (HLA) based nanoparticles (NPs) for the purpose of image guided surgery and drug delivery. Specifically, we are investigating HLA-NPs which physically entrap the near-infrared fluorescent dye indocyanine green, which can be used to optically enhance tumor tissue during surgery, thereby aiding the surgeon in complete removal of cancerous tissue. Additionally, we are investigating the potential of HLA-NPs loaded with the fatty acid synthase inhibitor Orlistat to act as a chemotherapeutic against various cancer types.

Award Overview:
The Lucy Robbins Fellowship Award was established in the spring of 2005 in memory of Lucy Robbins, the late wife of WFUHS faculty member Dr. Mike Robbins.  In 2014 the award was renamed the Mike and Lucy Robbins Fellowship Award.  The award will be given annually to a graduate student conducting cancer-related research and will be based on academic ability, including outstanding academic and research expertise, demonstrated leadership, outstanding interpersonal skills and a commitment to the ideals of excellence in academic research. The recipient of the Mike and Lucy Robbins Fellowship award will be selected by a committee of graduate faculty.  For 2014-2015, the award will consist of paying for the graduate student’s stipend and a certificate of recognition.