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Faculty Mentors

Rebecca Carrier, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
Northeastern University


Biography: Rebecca Carrier earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from RPI in 1995, and a Doctoral Degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2000, where she worked as a pioneer in cardiac muscle tissue engineering. After completing her graduate studies, Dr. Carrier worked at Pfizer, Inc., as a Senior Research Scientist in oral controlled release drug delivery. She joined Northeastern University’s Chemical Engineering Department in 2003, and has built a research and educational program focused on drug delivery and regenerative medicine. The goal of Dr. Carrier’s research program is to relate material properties to biological response to enable technologies that benefit human health. She has worked with multiple industrial partners including Pfizer, Merck, and Boehringer Ingelheim, and has received honors including the NSF CAREER award, and NU “Outstanding Teacher” and “Faculty Fellow” Awards in 2011 and 2014 for excellence in teaching and research leadership, respectively.

Research and Expertise: The overall theme of her research interests is the interaction between biological systems and materials, with specific applications in drug delivery and regenerative medicine. The two main goals of her research program are: 1. To enhance understanding of compound transport in biological systems, (e.g., drug transport through the body), and how it is influenced by exogenous and endogenous carrier systems (e.g., lipid micelles) and 2. To develop and study biomimetic biomaterials and cellular response to them. Quantitative, mechanistic understanding of compound transport in the body will enable rational design of drug delivery systems, streamlining the resource-intensive drug development process and enabling viable pharmaceutical products to be developed from promising drug candidates. It could also enhance understanding of physiological function (e.g., significance of biological barriers such as gastrointestinal mucus in normal and disease states). Precisely biomimetic biomaterials could enable meaningful cell culture models for research and scaffolds promoting tissue regeneration when combined with appropriate cells. Current specific research focus areas include the impact of lipids on oral compound absorption, mechanistic studies of mucus barriers to drug and drug carrier transport, and development of biomimetic biomaterials for intestinal and retinal tissue engineering.