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Kathryn Whitehead, Ph.D.

Member, Gene Therapy SAB

Kathryn A. Whitehead, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering (courtesy) at Carnegie Mellon University. Her lab develops drug delivery systems for RNA, proteins, and applications in maternal and infant health. She obtained bachelor and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering (University of Delaware; University of California, Santa Barbara) before a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Professor Whitehead is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the DARPA Director’s Fellowship, and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Curtis W. McGraw Research Award. She has also received the Controlled Release Society’s Young Investigator Award and served on its Board of Directors. Professor Whitehead is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the Controlled Release Society. In 2021, she gave a TED talk on the lipid nanoparticles (i.e., “fat balls”) used in the in the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Her publications have been cited over 10,000 times, and her patents have been licensed and sublicensed for reagent and therapeutic use.