The Marino Xanthos Lecture Series

The Marino Xanthos Lecture Series

September 25, 2017

Eberhardt Hall, Room 112, 2:30 p.m.


David L. Kaplan, Ph.D.

Engineered Silk Proteins for Regenerative Medicine

Silk is one of the oldest biomaterials, utilized as sutures for centuries, yet undergoing a rebirth into new biomaterial formats and applications in recent years.  Key to this emergence has been new fundamental insight into mechanisms of self-assembly of this unique, high molecular weight, amphiphilic protein, along with new modes to modify the native protein using new processing methods and chemistries.  The role of water in the self-assembly process, the contributions of specific protein domains in biophysical assembly, and the functional use of selective chemical handles in the protein sequence are of particular focus, along with the interplay of modeling and experiment to optimize silk protein designs for specific functions via bioengineering approaches.  Some of these strategies will be discussed, related to fundamental aspects of controlling material structure and function.   In addition, the utility of some of these new silk-based materials in 3D printing, biomaterial scaffolding, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine will also be presented.  For example, silk-based inks are particularly useful in 3D printing and micro-molding technologies.  This utility derives from the robust mechanical properties combined with the all aqueous processing, the avoidance of any need for chemical or photo-chemical crosslinking, and the compatibility of the protein with bioactive compounds during processing. The need for tunable, degradable, robust biomaterials for a range of medical goals remains high and silk proteins offer a unique suite of options to help address these needs. These silk-based biomaterials in scaffold formats also provide a basis for a range of studies in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
David L. Kaplan
Stern Family Endowed Professor of Engineering
Professor & Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Distinguished University Professor
Tufts University
Director, NIH P41 Resource Center on Tissue Engineering
Editor-in-Chief, ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering


Marino Xanthos, Ph.D. was a professor of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering.  Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, and Senior Technical Advisor to the Polymer Processing Institute (PPI) at NJIT until his passing in the summer of 2013.  Dr. Xanthos earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki and master's and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto, where he studied under Professor R.T. Woodhams.  

After receiving his doctorate in 1974, he joined the research division of Martin Marietta Resources International, where he eventually rose to the position of Research, Development, and Technical Services Manager.  From 1980 to 1986 he served as professor and later as director of Stevens Institute of Technology overseas International Programs Office Department of polymer science, engineering and technology, jointly operated with the Algerian Petroleum Institute.  During the period of 1987 to 1995, he was the research director of the PPI and Stevens Research Professor.  He was appointed professor of chemical engineering at NJIT in 1995, where he served until his passing as Director of the Polymer Engineering Center, Director of the Center of Processing of Plastics Packaging, Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Materials Research Council, Senior Technical Adviser to the PPI at NJIT, and finally Associate Provost for Graduate Studies.

Dr. Xanthos was internationally recognized for his polymer blends, polymer composites and polymer foams expertise, and his studies on polymer modification through the use of functional particulate additives and reactive extrusion processes, which he also applied to the processing of pharmaceutical oral dosage forms. His research work and publications involved Ph.D. and master's students at NJIT and Stevens.  He was also involved with PPI technical staff and industrial colleagues nationally and internationally in the solution of numerous important industrial problems.
Dr. Xanthos became a Fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) in 2003 and received the NJIT Board of Overseers Harlin J. Perlis Award that same year in recognition of his exemplary scholarship and outstanding research in the field of polymers.  He served as the U.S. representative to the Board of the Polymer Processing Society since 2005.  In 2010, he received the Heinz List Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in Reactive Processing and Devolatilization.
Dr. Xanthos deeply cared for and was a renowned mentor and advisor to his graduate and undergraduate students.  For many years, he was the advisor and life force of the NJIT student chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).
This lecture series was established by his family, friends and colleagues to memorialize his accomplishments and love of his chosen field.


Previous Lectures

September 21, 2016, Weston Hall, Room 220 at 2:30 p.m.  

Breaking Moore's Law

Thomas P. Russell, Ph.D.
Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and
Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California

March 11, 2015

The Unusual Rheology of Concentrated Suspensions
Morton M. Denn, Ph.D.
Benjamin Levich Institute, City College of New York