Dr. Daniel J. Siegwart obtained his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) under the guidance of Prof. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, who developed Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP), one of the most powerful Controlled/living Radical Polymerization (CRP) techniques. One of Dan's main projects involved combining ATRP with radical ring-opening polymerization to produce injectable degradable polymers and hydrogels for bone fracture repair. He also co-developed ATRP in inverse miniemulsion to produce nanogels for drug delivery. Dan received the Joseph A. Solomon Memorial Fellowship in Chemistry at CMU and was also awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Fellowship to study at the University of Tokyo with Prof. Kazunori Kataoka in 2006.
In order to apply his background in polymer chemistry to translational medical applications, Dan conducted NIH NRSA-sponsored postdoctoral research with Prof. Robert Langer at MIT and focused on combinatorial, high-throughput methods in material discovery. There, he directed a project reporting the first large library of 1,536 structurally defined core-shell nanoparticles that identified key chemical functionalities for designing polymers for siRNA delivery. Dan also worked on the automated synthesis of non-fouling zwitterionic materials for cell encapsulation to treat diabetes, injectable materials to treat spinal cord injuries, and catalyst development for the automated synthesis of thiol-functionalized polymers for siRNA conjugation.
At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the Siegwart Research Group’s long-term goals are to develop new materials for miRNA and siRNA delivery, develop new polymers to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs to hypovascular tumors, and to globally understand how the physical and chemical properties of materials affect interactions with biological systems in vitro and in vivo in the context of improving cancer therapies. They aspire to utilize chemistry and engineering to make a beneficial impact on human health through improved cancer therapies.