Pankaj Karande

Pankaj Karande
Associate Professor
Contact Information
Office: CBIS 3217
Phone: 518-276-4459
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2006
B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Mumbai, 2000
Prof. Pankaj Karande joined the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at Rensselaer in January 2008. Before joining Rensselaer, Dr. Karande was a postdoctoral scholar in the Chemical Engineering Department and Center for Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Karande has received numerous awards for his work including The Edison Award for best Product in Science and Medicine (2009), The Anna Fuller Fellowship in Molecular Oncology (2006-2007), Outstanding Pharmaceutical Paper by the Controlled Release Society (2005) and the Fionna Goodchild Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring (2004). Dr. Karande is an inventor on several patents in the area of Transdermal Formulation Discovery and Novel High Throughput Screening Platforms.
Research Interests
Drug discovery, Drug delivery, Peptide engineering, High throughput screening, Vaccine design, Biomaterials design
Current Research
Prof. Karande's research program is focused on engineering peptides as novel drugs, drug carriers and multifunctional biomaterials for medical applications. Peptides play vital roles in various biological functions including membrane assembly, cell regulation and immunity. Inspired by their roles in physiological processes, the Karande Lab is evaluating the potential of short peptide sequences as therapeutics for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, immune disorders and as sub-unit vaccines against infectious diseases.  The basic paradigm in contemporary peptide design is based on mimicking and conserving structural themes available in nature. Although such techniques have shown some success they are inherently limited in their potential as they fail to encompass possible structural motifs associated with a broader range of functionalities not seen in nature. Additional limitation of these approaches is the confinement to natural diversities of motifs. Inclusion of synthetic diversities (non-canonical amino acids) in engineered peptide frameworks provides added flexibility in tailoring physical, chemical and biological properties. The lab is interested in exploring the functional landscape of synthetic peptides comprised of a mix of canonical and non-canonical amino acids. While there is evidence that inclusion of non-canonical amino acids can improve the therapeutic endpoint in vitro, the in vivo or physiological response to such constructs (immunogenicity, toxicity, half-life, metabolism, etc.) is unknown.

Prof. Karande's lab combines the groupís core expertise in design of novel high throughput screening platforms along with the advances in parallel peptide synthesis to rapidly synthesize and screen large (O(1000)) peptide libraries designed from canonical and non-canonical amino acids for predefined biological endpoints. Rational and iterative screening of multiple libraries provides leading hits that are subsequently evaluated in vitro for toxicity, immunogenicity and metabolism in complementary high throughput screening assays.