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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

BME Seminar: Gregg A. Duncan, PhD

Thursday, September 28 | 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Uncas A. Whitaker Hall, 218
6760 Forest Park Pkwy, St. Louis, MO 63105, USA

Presenting on “Engineering mucus and innate lung defense

Gregg A. Duncan, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, will speak on Thursday, September 28, 2023 at 10:00 am CST in Whitaker 218.

Abstract: Mucus is a biological gel within the lung designed to behave like an “escalator” with the ability to capture potentially harmful inhaled materials (e.g. pathogens, particulates) and carry these materials via mucociliary clearance up to the throat to be swallowed and sterilized. However due to the lack of appropriate models, it is unclear how the physical and biochemical properties of mucus collectively dictate its function. Recently, we have engineered a mucin-based biomaterial with native-like viscoelasticity, here termed ‘synthetic mucus’. I will discuss how we have used synthetic mucus biomaterials to understand how the biochemical and biophysical features of airway mucus impact its function in health and dysfunction in diseases such as asthma and cystic fibrosis. In addition, I will discuss a genetically engineered human airway tissue culture model developed in our lab to study how mucus transport is dynamically controlled based on mucin glycoprotein composition. These bioengineered models provide key insights on mucus barrier function that improve our understanding of innate lung defense in health and disease.

Registration is required to attend virtually. Please register.

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology, Medicine & Health

Biomedical Engineering


Event Contact

Mimi Hilburg

Speaker Information

Gregg A. Duncan earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering under the guidance of Michael Bevan at Johns Hopkins University. His PhD research focused on developing novel microparticle-based measurements and complementary models of multivalent biomolecular interactions. During his postdoctoral training, he developed nanoparticle-based diagnostic and viral gene therapy approaches for cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Center for Nanomedicine directed by Justin Hanes. Gregg became a faculty member in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2017. He also currently serves as the Director of the Bioengineering Honors program. He is the recipient of several honors and awards including the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, BMES-CMBE Rising Star Award, BMES Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award, ORAU Ralph E. Powe Jr. Faculty Enhancement Award, and the NSF CAREER award.

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