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Pitt Engineering Professor Steven Little receives international Young Investigator Award for development of novel drug delivery systems

PITTSBURGH (May 30, 2018) … The Controlled Release Society has announced that University of Pittsburgh Professor Steven Little is the recipient of its 2018 Young Investigator award. The honor annually recognizes one individual in the world, 40 years of age or younger, for outstanding contributions in the science of controlled release. Dr. Little is the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.

Dr. Little’s focuses on novel drug delivery systems that mimic the body’s own mechanisms of healing and resolving inflammation.  This allows for dosages that are millions of times smaller than current medicine, and his next-generation treatments have shown promise for addressing a number of conditions including glaucoma, periodontal disease, wound healing, cancer, skin allergic dermatitis, and even transplantation of tissues and limbs.  New “controlled release” systems developed by Dr. Little are applied once and then released over a period of days or months, depending on the medication.

His controlled release discoveries resulted in the co-founding of Pittsburgh-based Qrono Inc., which provides custom designed controlled release formulations for academic laboratories and agricultural and pharmaceutical companies.

Previous Young Investigator Award recipients include:
2017   Zhen Gu
2016   Ryan Donnelly
2015   Twan Lammers
2014   Suzie Pun
2013   Ali Khademhosseini
2012   Cory Berkland
2011   Molly Stevens
2010  Krish Roy
2009   Justin Hanes
2008   Samir Mitragotri
2007   David Putnam
2006   Stefaan De Smedt
2005   Mark Prausnitz
2004   Jean-Christophe Leroux
2003   Duncan Craig
2003   Glen Kwon
2002   Steve Schwendeman
2001  Jeffrey Cleland
2001   Saghir Akhtar
2000   Claus-Michael Lehr
1999   Derek O'Hagan
1998   Antonios Mikos
1997   Martyn Davies
1996   W. Mark Saltzman
1996   Joke Bouwstra
1995   Rainer Mueller
1994   Kam Leong
1993  Ruth Duncan
1992   Joachim Kohn
1992   Kinam Park
1991   Vincent Lee
1990   Patrick Couvreur
1989   Ronald Siegel
1988   Richard Guy

More About Dr. Little

Dr. Steven Little is a William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Bioengineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Immunology, Ophthalmology and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2005, with his thesis winning the American Association for Advancement of Science's Excellence in Research Award.

Researchers in Dr. Little’s Lab focus upon therapies that are biomimetic and replicate the biological function and interactions of living entities using synthetic systems. Areas of study include bioengineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, ophthalmology, and immunology, and the health issues addressed include autoimmune disease, battlefield wounds, cancer, HIV, ocular diseases, and transplantation. Dr. Little currently has 10 provisional, 2 pending, and 5 issued patents.

Dr. Little has been recognized by national and international awards including the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the ASEE, being elected as a fellow of the BMES and AIMBE, a Carnegie Science Award for Research, the Society for Biomaterials' Young Investigator Award, the University of Pittsburgh's Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award, being named a Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar, being named an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator, and being elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for Biomaterials. In addition, Dr. Little's exceptional teaching and leadership in education have also been recognized by both the University of Pittsburgh's Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award and a 2nd Carnegie Science Award for Post-Secondary Education. Dr. Little was also recently named one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 40 under 40, a “Fast Tracker” by the Pittsburgh Business Times, and also one of only five individuals in Pittsburgh who are “reshaping our world” by Pop City Media.

About the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
The Swanson School’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering serves undergraduate and graduate engineering students, the University and industry, through education, research, and participation in professional organizations and regional/national initiatives. Active areas of research in the Department include Biological and Biomedical Systems; Energy and Sustainability; and Materials Modeling and Design. The faculty holds a record of success in obtaining research funding such that the Department ranks within the top 25 U.S. Chemical Engineering departments for Federal R&D spending in recent years with annual research expenditures exceeding $7 million. 


Contact: Paul Kovach