Emily Day (pictured center) joined UD as an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in fall 2013. Her research focuses on engineering nanomaterials with unique physical and chemical properties. Through careful design of the nanoparticles’ architecture and surface chemistry, Day studies the structure and function relationship between these nanomaterials and complex biological systems, and applies this knowledge to develop and implement advanced nanomaterials that solve key challenges in oncology.

During her post-doctoral work at Northwestern University, Day was part of a team that discovered that spherical nucleic acids (SNAs), tiny spherical gold nanoparticles densely coated with nucleic acids, have unique properties that allow them to pass through the blood-brain barrier and attack brain cancer. This discovery establishes SNAs as a promising new class of therapeutic gene regulation agents capable of treating disease through systemic injection. At UD, Day plans to continue exploring SNA behavior using nanoparticle materials such as silica core gold shell nanoshells, which she believes may be useful in imaging, photo thermal therapy and triggered released treatments based on their ability to convert light energy into heat. Ultimately, Day aims to transition the technologies developed in her lab from concept to clinical application and to expand their use to diseases beyond cancer.