Wednesday, December 06, 2023 03:30PM
Kurt Ristroph

Note: Coffee and snacks will precede the seminar at 3 p.m. in the Ford ES&T first-floor atrium


Kurt Ristroph, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University


"Controlled nanoprecipitation with solubility engineering to formulate small molecules and biologics for applications in medicine and agriculture"




For both small molecule drugs and biopharmaceuticals, efficient encapsulation into nanoscale delivery vehicles is an attractive approach for improving therapeutic efficacy in the body. Analogously, many agrochemicals stand to benefit from nanoencapsulation for precision delivery into specific plant tissues. Most techniques to prepare nanocarriers for either application struggle to achieve commercial success, however, because they suffer from inefficiencies in (1) independently controlling targets such as vehicle size and surface charge, payload ratios and loading, drug release rates, and encapsulation efficiency, and (2) processing at scale, which is a non-negotiable step in the drug or agrochemical development pipeline.


In this talk, I will describe the large-scale solubility engineering + nanoprecipitation platform my lab uses to formulate a wide range of bioactive molecules, using as examples nanocarrier formulations of strongly hydrophobic global health drugs, highly hydrophilic antibiotics, antigenic proteins, nucleic acids, and agrochemicals. I will outline our process development work to scale up different formulations with industrial partners, and our work to understand the material science fundamentals underpinning the formulations we develop. I will briefly discuss navigating drug delivery research both for humans and for plants, and end with a perspective on future opportunities such as targeted formulations and co-formulating actives from different classes for drug synergism.




Dr. Ristroph is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. He earned bachelor’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and Classics at Louisiana State University; completed a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Princeton; and worked in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University as a Schimdt Science Fellow. He has also spent time researching at Moderna and the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Dr. Ristroph’s research group develops scalable nanoformulation processes for pharmaceutical and agricultural applications. His lab formulates polymeric and lipid nanocarriers to encapsulate (and co-encapsulate) small molecules, biologics, and imaging agents for enhanced delivery in humans and plants. He has raised research funding from the NIH, USDA, FDA, NSF, Gates Foundation, and industrial collaborators Eli Lilly, BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Serán Bioscience, and Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company.