James Chris Luft, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor

Chris Luft, Ph.D. began working with Joseph DeSimone, M.D., in 2007 as the Lead Scientist responsible for the design and implementation of in vitro cell-based assays testing the efficacy and performance of novel PRINT® nanoparticles as drug delivery vehicles. The results generated from these projects allowed him and his team to describe the interdependent role of particle size, shape, surface, and matrix composition on the intracellular “fate” of nanoparticles. Accordingly, they have been able to identify and optimize nanoparticle characteristics to design targeted therapeutics, vaccines, and imaging agents for application in numerous disease states ranging from oncology to infectious diseases.

Luft’s formal scientific training as a cell biologist/biochemist (University of Mississippi and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), coupled with entrepreneurial training with three start-up biotechnology companies has proven invaluable for assessing and addressing the challenges of directing a large and multi-faceted academic research group with affiliations including chemistry, chemical engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, cell and molecular biology, immunology and microbiology, biomedical engineering and the UNC M.D./Ph.D. program.

Luft received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Millsaps College and his doctoral degree in Immunology from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. His areas of scientific expertise are nanoparticle/cellular internalization strategies, nanoparticle trafficking, enzymology, drug discovery, signal transduction, and genomic research.