Ankur Singh will be joining the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University as an associate professor. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and did postdoctoral work at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Singh will also join the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech as a faculty member.
In a short interview with Singh, he describes his research, reasons for joining the Coulter Department, future impact of his research, and shares a couple of personal hobbies outside of his research.
Can you please describe your immunotherapy-related research?
My research aims to develop “living” immune tissues as organoids or on-chip to recapitulate dynamic immunological events in lymph nodes and spleen, and enable discovery and/or translation of immunotherapies. Our engineered materials in organoids communicate and manipulate the decision making process of immune cells at the cellular, molecular, and epigenetic levels. Our application areas are cancer, infections, and inflammation. Within the cancer engineering, we have developed ex vivo “malignant” immune tissues by integrating micro-nano-bioengineering, patient-derived lymphoma cells, biomaterials, tissue mechanics, transport and lymphatic-like fluid flow. We are interested in discovering how biophysical forces and tissue microenvironment influence immune cell receptor signaling and epigenetics of lymphomas, as well as therapeutic responses. Finally, an emerging area in the laboratory is materials-based immunomodulation in metabolic syndrome patients that manifest poor immunity due to alterations in the gut microbiome. Research in Singh laboratory is supported by the National Institute of Health (NIAID, NCI, NIBIB), Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, 3M, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Why did you choose to join the BME department at Georgia Tech and Emory University?
The Wallace H. Coulter Biomedical Engineering Department at Georgia Tech and Emory University, along with the Bioengineering graduate program, offer an interdisciplinary environment for stimulating innovation in biomedical research. Georgia Tech offers an opportunity to work with world class bioengineers alongside clinicians at Emory University School of Medicine as well as other Atlanta hospitals, such as the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
What do you see as the possible future impact of your work?
I anticipate that the engineered technologies from my research will lead to new discoveries in immunology and cancer, and development of immune-therapeutics to fight a wide range of disorders including infectious diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cancers, and transplant rejection. Our immediate impact is in elucidating the mechanisms through which the epigenome and microenvironment signaling programs the normal immune response; development of antibodies in a dish; and discovery of therapeutics that treat resistant lymphomas.
When you are not doing research or teaching, what do you like to do?
I like to hike with family and friends or cook!