The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy Appoints Nanobiotechnology Expert Peixuan Guo as First Sylvan G. Frank Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Systems

Peixuan Guo

The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy is pleased to announce that Peixuan Guo, PhD, has been selected as the first Sylvan G. Frank Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Systems. Guo, one of the top nanobiotechnology experts in the world, will join the college in January. Guo was recruited in collaboration with Ohio State’s Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute (DHLRI) and will hold a joint appointment in the College of Medicine’s Department of Physiology & Cell Biology.

“We are excited and honored to have Dr. Peixuan Guo join our faculty,” said Henry J. Mann, PharmD, FCCP, FCCM, FASHP, Dean and Professor at Ohio State’s College of Pharmacy. “His addition as a named chair pays proper tribute to the strong contributions of Dr. Sylvan Frank and the historic importance of innovation and drug development at our college. We look forward to significant new discoveries by Dr. Guo at The Ohio State University.”

According to Peter J. Mohler, PhD, Director of the DHLRI and Chair, Department of Physiology & Cell Biology, “Dr. Guo and his team are true pioneers in the field of Nanotechnology. We all look forward to collaborating with his team to define new mechanisms to treat complex human disease phenotypes.”

Guo is interested in expanding nanbiotechnology at the university by enhancing and expanding both internal and external collaborations and partnerships. He currently serves as the William Farish Endowed Chair in Nanobiotechology at the University of Kentucky, and is director of the university’s Nanobiotechnology Center and the National Cancer Institute Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnership Program in RNA Nanotechnology for Cancer Therapy.

He received his PhD in Microbiology and Genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1987. He served as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institutes of Health before joining the faculty of Purdue University in 1990. While at Purdue, Guo founded two interdisciplinary graduate programs and established an NIH nanomedicine development center. Guo became the Dane & Mary Louise Miller Endowed Chair of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati in 2007 before moving to the University of Kentucky in 2012.

Guo’s focus on nanobiotechnology, or the biological study and application of extremely small (between 1 to 100 nanometers) elements, has opened doors to new discoveries. He constructed the first viral DNA packaging motor in vitro (PNAS, 1986); discovered phi29 motor pRNA (Science, 1987); assembled infectious dsDNA viruses (J Virology, 1995); discovered pRNA hexamer (Mol Cell, 1998, featured in Cell); and pioneered RNA nanotechnology (Mol Cell, 1998; JNN, 2003; Nano Letter, 2004, 2005; Nature Nanotechnology 2010, 2011).

His lab built a dual-imaging system to detect single-fluorophores (RNA, 2007), and incorporated the phi29 motor channel into a lipid membrane (Nature Nanotechnology, 2009) for single molecule sensing with potentials for high throughput dsDNA sequencing. He also discovered a third class of biomotor using a revolution mechanism without rotation. More recently, Guo discovered a new method for the development of highly potent inhibitory drugs by targeting biological machines with high stoichiometry.

Guo was a member of two prominent national nanotech initiatives sponsored by the NIH, NSF, NIST and National Council of Nanotechnology; was director of one NIH Nanomedicine Development Center; was a member of the NIH NDC Steering Committee; was part of an NIH/NCI intramural site visit review panel. He has been appointed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences president Chunli Bai as an overseas expert member of the Examination and Review Panel of the CAS since 2014. He was the chair of the First and Second International Conference of RNA Nanotechnology, the founding chair of Gordon Research Conference (GRC) of RNA Nanotechnology, and will serve as the chair of the RNA Nanotechnology Conference in London next August.

Guo received the Pfizer Distinguished Faculty Award in 1995; the Purdue Faculty Scholar award in 1998; the Lions Club Cancer Research Award in 2006; the 2009 Distinguished Research Alumnus Award of the University of Minnesota; and the University of Minnesota China 100 Distinguished Chinese Alumnus in 2014. He has been an editor or board member of 10 nanotech and other journals. His work has been reported on ABC and NBC, and featured in newsletters and websites of the NIH, NSF, MSNBC, NCI and ScienceNow.

The Sylvan G. Frank Chair is funded by a $2.5 million endowment given to the college by alumnus Chih-Ming Chen (PhD ’81), and his wife, Virginia. The gift is the largest in college history. It honors Sylvan Frank, former professor of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and associate dean for Professional Programs, who retired in June 2013 as professor emeritus after 43 years with the college. Sylvan Frank, PhD, earned a BS in Pharmacy from Columbia University and an MS and PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Michigan. He joined Ohio State in 1970, making strides in education, administration and research, including drug delivery systems, pharmaceutical preformulation, colloid and surface chemistry, dispersion science, and small particle technology. He has served as visiting professor at The Upjohn Company (1972) and The Swedish Institute for Surface Chemistry (1978-79), and has lectured and consulted widely in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Frank has been honored with numerous awards, including The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy Dean’s Achievement Award, The Professor Sylvan G. Frank Graduate Fellowship in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, the Success Stories Award, the Lunsford Richardson Award for Pharmacy Research, and the Award for the Direction of Undergraduate Research in Pharmacy. He is a fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences (of which he is a charter member); a member of Rho Chi and Sigma Xi; and is listed in American Men and Women of Science and Who's Who in Technology Today. “To have a chair is just an incredible honor,” said Frank. “I am very humbled by the Chens’ very generous investment to create a unique opportunity for The Ohio State University. With the appointment of Dr. Guo, the university has new opportunities to become a world leader in pharmaceutics and the development and evaluation of drug delivery systems, with wide-ranging benefits for world health care now and for a long time to come. That is a wonderful legacy.”