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SELECTBIO Conferences Multi-Cellular Engineered Living Systems Summit

James Hickman's Biography



James Hickman, Professor, Nanoscience Technology, Chemistry, Biomolecular Science and Electrical Engineering, University of Central Florida; Chief Scientist, Hesperos

James J. Hickman is a founder and current Chief Scientist of Hesperos, located in Orlando, Florida, which is focusing on cell-based systems for drug discovery and toxicity. He is also the Founding Director of the NanoScience Technology Center and a Professor of Nanoscience Technology, Chemistry, Biomolecular Science, Material Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Central Florida. Previously, he held the position of the Hunter Endowed Chair in the Bioengineering Department at Clemson University. Dr. Hickman has a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Chemistry. For the past twenty-five years, he has been studying the interaction of biological species with modified surfaces, first in industry and in the latter years in academia. While in industry he established one of the first bioelectronics labs in the country that focused on cell-based sensors and their integration with electronic devices and MEMS devices. He is interested in creating hybrid systems for biosensor and biological computation applications and the creation of functional in vitro systems for human body-on-a-chip applications. He has worked at NSF and DARPA in the area of biological computation. He is a Fellow of both the American Institute of Medical and Biomedical Engineers (AIMBE) (2004) and the American Vacuum Society (AVS) (2007). He was a Board Member for AIMBE from 2009-2013 and Co-Chaired 6 AIMBE/NIH Workshops on “Validation and Qualification of New In Vitro Tools and Models for The Pre-clinical Drug Discovery Process” held at the NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD (2012 – 2017). Dr. Hickman along with Dr. Michael Shuler, won the Lush Prize, in the Science Category, which Supports Animal Free Testing in 2015. He has 135 publications and 20 book chapters, in addition to 22 issued patents out of 44 total patent applications.

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Body on a Chip: Human Microscale Models for Drug Development

Wednesday, 19 August 2020 at 11:45

Add to Calendar ▼2020-08-19 11:45:002020-08-19 12:45:00Europe/LondonBody on a Chip: Human Microscale Models for Drug DevelopmentMulti-Cellular Engineered Living Systems Summit in Boston, USABoston, USASELECTBIOenquiries@selectbiosciences.com

The preclinical drug development process is inefficient at selecting drug candidates for human clinical trials, since only 11% of drug candidates selected for clinical trials exit with regulatory approval. Current technology is based on isolated human cells and animal surrogates.  We believe that a “human” multiorgan model based on physiologically based pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamic (PBPK-PD) models that house interconnected modules with tissue mimics of various organs.  The system captures key aspects of human physiology that would potentially reduce drug attrition in clinical trials and decrease the cost of development. Integrated, multi-organ microphysiological systems (MPS) based on human tissues (also known as “body-on-a-chip”) could be important tools to improve the selection of drug candidates exiting preclinical trials for those drug most likely to earn regulatory approval from clinical trials. This methodology integrates microsystems fabrication technology and surface modifications with protein and cellular components, for initiating and maintaining self-assembly and growth into biologically, mechanically and electronically interactive functional multi-component systems.


I will describe such systems being constructed at Hesperos and at UCF that are guided in their design by a PBPK model. They are “self-contained” in that they can operate independently and do not require external pumps as is the case with man other microphysiological systems. They are “low cost”, in part, because of the simplicity and reliability of operation. They maintain a ratio of fluid (blood surrogate) to cells that is more physiologic than in many other in vitro systems allowing the observation of the effects of not only drugs but their metabolites. While systems can be sampled to measure the concentrations of drugs, metabolites, or biomarkers, they also can be interrogated in situ for functional responses such as electrical activity, force generation, or integrity of barrier function. Operation up to 28 days has been achieved allowing observation of both acute and chronic responses with serum free media. We have worked with various combinations of internal organ modules (liver, fat, neuromuscular junction, skeletal muscle, cardiac, bone marrow, blood vessels and brain) and barrier tissues (eg skin, GI tract, blood brain barrier, lung, and kidney). The use of microelectrode arrays to monitor electrically active tissues (cardiac and neuronal) and micro cantilevers (muscle) have been demonstrated. Most importantly these technical advances allow prediction of both a drug’s potential efficacy and toxicity (side-effects) in pre-clinical studies. This talk will also give results of six workshops held at NIH to explore what is needed for validation and qualification of these new systems.


Add to Calendar ▼2020-08-19 00:00:002020-08-19 00:00:00Europe/LondonMulti-Cellular Engineered Living Systems SummitMulti-Cellular Engineered Living Systems Summit in Boston, USABoston, USASELECTBIOenquiries@selectbiosciences.com