Specializes in design and application of smart polymer-based technologies
Dr. Duvall completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky in 2001 and immediately started his doctoral studies in BME at Georgia Tech and Emory University. His Ph.D. work was jointly directed by Bob Guldberg, a mechanical/biomedical engineer from Georgia Tech, and Bob Taylor, a cardiologist from Emory. In 2007, Dr. Duvall joined the polymeric drug delivery technology labs of Patrick Stayton and Allan Hoffman in Bioengineering at the University of Washington for his NIH NRSA-funded postdoctoral fellowship.Based on the foundations built from these combined experiences, the Duvall Advanced Therapeutics Laboratory (ATL) was launched in the Vanderbilt Biomedical Engineering Department in 2010, and Dr. Duvall was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016. The Duvall Advanced Therapeutics Laboratory specializes in design and application of smart polymer-based technologies for: (1) intracellular delivery of biological drugs such as peptides and nucleic acids, (2) proximity-activated targeting of drugs to sites of inflammation and matrix remodeling, and (3) long-term, “on-demand” drug release from localized depots. These delivery systems are designed to improve the therapeutic index of existing drugs and/or to serve as enabling technologies for manipulation of intracellular targets currently considered to be “undruggable”. Dr. Duvall has won awards such as the NSF CAREER Award, AHA Scientist Development Grant, Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award, BMES Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Young Innovator Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
Dr. Duvall has a passion for graduate student and postdoc training. He is the Director of graduate recruiting for the Vanderbilt Department of Biomedical Engineering and serves on the Vanderbilt Graduate Faculty Council. 11 of his current and past trainees have won NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. Dr. Duvall has chaired 10 completed graduate research committees: M.S. students Martina Miteva and Rucha Joshi and Ph.D. students Chris Nelson, Kyle Hocking, Brian Evans, Kristin Poole, Kelsey Beavers, John Martin, Samantha Sarett, and Thomas Werfel. He maintains a lab of approximately 12 people, comprising ~10 Ph.D. students and 2-3 postdoctoral fellows / research faculty. The lab collaborates intensively with faculty throughout the Vanderbilt Schools of Engineering and Medicine.
Outside of the lab, Dr. Duvall enjoys sports and outdoor activities including basketball, cycling, hiking, and gardening, in addition to spending quality time with his wife Gina and three young children, Hayden, Henley, and Hudson.
The Advanced Therapeutics Laboratory applies “smart”, environmentally-responsive polymers to develop novel approaches for overcoming pharmacological barriers. A variety of projects are currently under way for development of polymeric systems that respond to one or more stimuli such as pH, temperature, oxidative stress, and enzymatic activity in order trigger advanced polymer functionalities. Approaches currently under development are aimed at enhanced drug and nanoparticle targeting, intracellular biomacromolecular delivery, and systems for controlled release of growth factors and other extracellular-acting molecules.
Medical application areas include cancer, wound healing and tissue regeneration, and improvement of long-term patency in vascular bypass grafts.
The Duvall lab is located in the brand new Biomaterials Laboratory Space in the Engineering and Science Building shared with Professor Todd Giorgio. This collaborative research environment contains the multidisciplinary expertise and equipment necessary to carry out cutting edge research that covers the full spectrum of synthesis, characterization, and biological testing of advanced therapeutic biomaterials.