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Jennifer A. Durant

Jennifer A. Durant

Position:

Research Assistant Professor of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Science

Contact Information:

University of New Hampshire
Spaulding Hall 241
38 Academic Way
Durham, New Hampshire 03824

Tel.(office) 603-862-0235
Tel. (lab) 603-862-1639
E-mail: jennifer.durant@unh.edu

Profile

Protein biochemist with 2 years of postdoctoral experience in both academic and industry directed projects. Have personally worked with 12 different proteins and peptides employing a wide variety of biophysical and biochemical methods including ATR-FTIR, AUC, HPLC/LS, CE, MCE, SPR and MS. Have recently gained experience in microfluidic technology. My interests focus on the application of biophysical techniques to solve or advance medically related issues such as oral delivery of protein and peptide therapeutics.

Current Research

Currently we are investigating an insulin nasal delivery system (Nasulin™) as an alternative for diabetics who must self-administer painful injections daily. We have been working with CPEX pharmaceuticals (formerly Bentley), for over 3 years on developing and characterizing the CPE-215 based system, currently in Phase II trials.

In formulating insulin the species present can vary significantly depending on solution composition and even the history of the sample. For example an otherwise stable sample which has been extensively agitated can form fibril-like structures which in some cases can be reversible. The insulin species present in solution are dictated by pH, concentration, ionic strength, temperature, and the nature of the small ions which may be present (Zn2+, Ca2+ , Co2+ or Cl- for example). The association state is important with respect to both immunogenic response and formulation stability

We are also working to improve the utilization of forestry waste as a feedstock for the production of organic acids which were recently identified by the DOE as key building blocks for bio-based materials of the future. While forestry and agricultural waste are already being used as feedstock in microbial fermentation processes to produce value-added chemicals, with increasing demand to shift from petro-based to bio-based chemicals, better processes are needed to take advantage of this economic opportunity. We seek to optimize the fermentation processes and microbial strains that use the hemicellulose-derived xylose (e.g. from wood pulp waste) as the carbohydrate source.

Research Experience

University of New Hampshire, Research Faculty (Sept 2005 - Present)

  • Project 1: Development of Nanovesicles for Oral Delivery of Therapeutics
    Working with Jerome Claverie (Materials Science Program, UNH) and Bentley Pharmaceuticals (Exeter, NH), we are characterizing nanovesicles and their drug transport properties. We are using Caco-2 cell monolayers as a permeability model and a number of biophysical techniques, including ATR-FTIR, AUC-FDS, and CE, in our efforts to optimize the delivery system.

University of New Hampshire, Post Doctoral Fellow (May 2003 - Sept 2005)

  • Project 1: Development of a microfluidic electrophoresis device with multiple wavelength fluorescence detection for early stage cancer diagnosis.
    Sentry Biosciences, Inc. contact Diane Kozwich and Charlie Barnett (Feb 2005 - Aug2005)
    A microfluidic device was constructed and tested with a model system (GFP) to determine the feasibility of rapid testing (<1hr) for trace amounts of cancer markers in crude samples such as blood. We worked with PDMS for rapid prototyping and are collaborating with the University of Maine LASST center (Professor Rosemary Smith) for the photolithography aspects. Our eventual target molecule is currently osteopontin.

  • Project 2: Development of a web based technical resource center for new industry scientists
    Biomolecular Interaction Technologies Center (BITC) contact Susan Lucius (2004 - present)
    Designed, assembled, and wrote material for a web based resource to help new scientists quickly understand and identify potentially useful biophysical characterization techniques. Currently covers 16 different instruments including new technologies such as resonant acoustic profiling (RAP) and surface plasmon coupled emission. Responsible for updating and adding the newest technologies as they become available.

  • Project 3: Determination of the valence of activated drotrecogin alfa (activated protein C)
    Elli Lilly contacts Cassandra Fletcher and Brian Matthews (2003 - July 2005)
    Measurement of the hydrodynamic radius of activated protein C was made both by analytical ultracentrifugation (sedimentation velocity) and by dynamic light scattering. This is used along with membrane confined electrophoresis (MCE) and capillary electrophoresis (CE) measurements to determine estimates of the electrostatic self-potential energy as function of Ca2+ concentrations. Responsible for generation and submission of reports.

  • Project 4: Investigate application of electrophoretic theories to large, nonglobular proteins.
    CAMIS contact Thomas Laue (2003 - 2004)
    Hydrodynamic and electrophoretic measurements of both lysozyme and an N-terminally PEGylated lysozyme where made. These measurements were used to determine the applicability of models to large, flexible macroions in order to determine valence.

  • Project 5: Characterization of insulin fibrillation
    Bentley Pharmaceuticals contact Bob Gyurik (Aug 2004 - Jan 2005)
    Highly concentrated pharmaceutical preparations where characterized by ATR-FTIR to demonstrate the reversibility of insulin fibril formation. Kinetic assays were also performed using fluorescence measurements and the fibril-binding dye thioflavin T. Molecular weight determinations were made using analytical ultracentrifugation and CE was used to detect the prescence of desamido-insulin in the preparations.