Postdoctoral Research Fellow
313 Snell Engineering Center
Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115
Email: e.taylor [at] neu.edu
Growing up roaming the Texan prairies instilled in Erik an ambition to study humanity’s ability to not only co-exist with nature, but to flourish in accordance with Earth’s natural attributes. While one would be hard-pressed to find cattle navigating the roads of a contemporary American metropolis, micro-biotic life flourishes on subways, in apartment complexes, and even in the most allegedly sterile of environments – the modern hospital. Erik’s research is geared towards designing treatments for antibiotic resistant biofilms on medical devices. He uses nanotechnology to create novel interfaces promoting the natural elimination of biofilm.
Erik received his Bachelor of Science from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. His senior design project was “An arthroscopic tool for the delivery of a thermo-sensitive hydrogel into damaged knee cartilage.” Erik’s research excellence wrought him an Office of the Vice President Undergraduate Research Fellowship for his work with Reese Endowed Professor Miguel Jose Yacaman in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Erik is currently a graduate student working towards his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Brown University. He is advised by the Graduate Director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering, Associate Professor Thomas J. Webster. Through Prof. Webster’s guidance and expertise, Erik is working on his thesis entitled “Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (SPION) for the Treatment of Implant Infection.” The Society for Biomaterials recently bestowed upon Erik the Student Travel Achievement Recognition (STAR) graduate student award one of its most prestigious graduate student honors for his exemplary work in nanotechnology.
Bone related infectious diseases (including osteomyelitis and prosthesis infection) are of great concern to the medical world. These types of deep tissue infection are frequently chronic and always painful for those suffering. Biofilm is one such type of infection whereby bacteria form a robust colony protected by sticky slime matrix from the body’s immune system (or natural clearance) and antibiotic treatment (called antibiotic resistance). Antibiotics available to treat such infectious diseases are often not specifically targeted to the site of the disease and, thus, lack an immediate directed therapeutic effect. It has been previously shown that magnetic nanoparticles can be directed in the presence of a magnetic field to any part of the body, allowing for site-specific drug delivery. Magnetic nanoparticles have also shown promise to enhance bone cell functions and possibly provide an immediate increase in bone density, for example when directed to the site of infection. This review article will explore the multifunctional properties magnetic nanoparticles (termed here superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, or SPION) having antibacterial activity, bone enhancing properties, and magnetic properties towards the development of a new type of pharmaceutical which could be useful for orthopedic and infection related applications simultaneously.