We are excited to announce the recruitment of Dr. Nasim Annabi to UCLA! Dr. Annabi and her research team will be joining our Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, starting July 1st, 2018. Dr. Annabi’s group aims to bring their unique expertise to our department in the design and engineering of advanced biomaterials for regenerative medicine. Her research focuses on understanding cell-biomaterial interactions, as well as the development of microfabricated hydrogels and cell-laden protein-based biomaterials for tissue engineering. Her research team has devised innovative strategies for the development of advanced bioadhesives and surgical sealants with high clinical translation for biomedical and surgical applications. Her goal is to conduct research that bridges the gap between the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Medical School at UCLA. This multidisciplinary approach will be instrumental to the development of the next generation of biomaterials that can be used to design novel therapeutic strategies for a variety of diseases.
Dr. Annabi earned her BS (2002) and MS (2004) degrees in Chemical Engineering from Iran. In 2010, she received a PhD in Chemical Engineering/Bioengineering from the University of Sydney (Australia). From 2011-2014, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. She joined the faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) at Harvard Medical School (2014) as an instructor in medicine for a year before starting her tenure track position at Northeastern University (2015). Dr. Annabi’s research at Harvard focused on engineering cardiac and vascular tissues, with a primary focus on the responses of cells and tissues to their microenvironment. Moreover, she developed innovative chemistries and technologies to engineer elastic and light-activated scaffolds for soft tissue repair.
The multidisciplinary approach of the research conducted by Dr. Annabi blends modern molecular and cellular biology with an engineering approach for the design of next-generation biomaterials for tissue engineering and biomedical applications. Her research interests often dwell into several different disciplines, which led to the establishment of a highly interdisciplinary research program at Northeastern University. Dr. Annabi was able to rapidly expand her research team by obtaining several competitive research funding from various grant agencies, including two NIH R01 grants (2017, 2018), a Department of Defense (DOD) grant (2018), a C-Doctor Award from NIH (2017), and a Scientist Development Award from American Heart Association (AHA) (2016).
Dr. Annabi has always pursued the translation of the scientific findings of her research into products for patient use through close collaboration with clinicians. For instance, one of her latest developments consists of an elastin-based biomaterial, which is being evaluated as a surgical sealant for wound closure and healing. This biomaterial can be used as an adjuvant to conventional sutures to enable rapid wound closure and significantly reduce operation times. This surgical glue has been already implemented by numerous surgeons in various procedures, ranging from thoracic to corneal surgeries, and will soon be evaluated in the first phase of human trials.
Dr. Annabi has made significant contributions to the development of the next generation of biomaterials and is widely viewed as one of the young leading scientists in the field. She has edited special issues of journals including a joint special issue of “Biomaterials” and has co-authored ~100 journal articles, ~ 6 book chapters/editorials, over 120 abstracts, has been invited to over 50 seminars, and has 9 patent/disclosure applications. Her work has been published in leading scientific journals and routinely highlighted in international media. As of June 2018, Dr. Annabi has been cited ~5200 times and has an H-index of 38. Her interdisciplinary research has been recognized by several national and international awards including the Australian Prestigious Endeavour Award (2010), the National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (2011), and the Bright Futures Award at Harvard (2014).
In addition to a solid research career, Dr. Annabi is highly passionate about teaching. At Northeastern University, she has imparted core chemical engineering courses for undergraduate students in the Department of Chemical Engineering. She has also immense interest in training and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows, who have themselves flourished into capable and independent researchers.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Annabi to our faculty in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA!