Principal Investigator

Millicent Sullivan

Millicent O. Sullivan

Associate Professor
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
University of Delaware

Phone: (302) 831-8072
Fax: (302) 831-1048
Full CV

Bio: Millicent Sullivan is an Associate Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware and a Visiting Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania. Sullivan graduated from Princeton University with a B.S.E. degree in Chemical Engineering and a Certificate in Engineering Biology in 1998. Subsequently, she attended Carnegie Mellon University as a Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellow, where she earned her Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering with Professor Todd Przybycien in 2003. As a Ruth L. Kirchstein NIH postdoctoral fellow, Sullivan worked with Professor E. Helene Sage in the Matrix Biology/Hope Heart Program of the Benaroya Research Institute. In 2006, Sullivan moved to the University of Delaware. Her laboratory develops novel biomaterials for drug delivery, gene delivery, and tissue engineering, with specific therapeutic targets including metastatic breast cancer, bone repair, and wound healing. Specific fundamental foci include de novo peptide design, peptide and polymer self-assembly, and subcellular processing mechanisms. Sullivan is a faculty member in the Delaware Biomaterials COBRE, a member of the Penn Center for Targeted Therapeutics and Translational Nanomedicine (CT3N), an Affiliate Member of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, and has recently received awards including an NSF CAREER award and a Merck Faculty Fellow Award.

Administrative Staff Members

Rechilda Alba


Phone: (302) 831-8056

Position: Administrative Assistant

Marta Rosario


Phone: (302) 831-0181

Position: College Division Sponsored Programs Coordinator

Graduate Students

Nikki Ross

Nikki Ross


Ph.D. Candidate, University of Delaware
M.S., University of Delaware 2011
B.S., Johns Hopkins University 2009

Research Interests: I worked with Dr. Anne Robinson at the University of Delaware from 2009-2011, researching oxidative stress and its effects on the tau protein in neurodegenerative diseases. I then transferred to the Sullivan lab in 2012. In recent years, non-viral gene delivery has attracted interest as a promising therapeutic method because of its safety and controllability, yet inefficient trafficking to the nucleus is a common cause of ineffective delivery. My work aims to understand how our histone-targeted polyplexes are endocytosed, trafficked through the cell, and delivered to the nucleus, for effective gene delivery.

Larsen, J.D., N.L. Ross and M.O. Sullivan. Requirements for the nuclear entry of polyplexes and nanoparticles during mitosis. J Gene Med, 2012. 14(9-10): p. 580-9.

Morgan Urello

Morgan A. Urello


Education: B.S. Chemical Engineering, Columbia University

Research Interests: Morgan is a PhD candidate advised by Dr. Millicent Sullivan and Dr. Kristi Kiick. She is working to improve chronic wound healing using a non-viral growth factor-based gene therapy. Her goal is to overcome inefficiencies inherent with the use of non-viral vectors, by mimicking viral delivery and harnessing extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling, a process that already occurs in excess in chronic wound, to stimulate gene release and expression.

Hanly, Timothy J., Morgan Urello, and Michael A. Henson. “Dynamic Flux Balance Modeling of S. Cerevisiae and E. Coli Co-cultures for Efficient Consumption of Glucose/xylose Mixtures.”Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 93.6 (2012): 2529-541.

Chad Greco

Chad Greco


Education: B.S. Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2012

Research Interests: Chad is a graduate student working towards his Ph.D. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. His current research focuses on photocleavable cationic polymers for controlling nucleic acid delivery. He works to analyze how these polymers assemble into stable polyplexes and cleave in response to light, mediating nucleic acid unpackaging. Current efforts are aimed at gaining a better understanding of how the polyplex structure changes during intracellular trafficking and how light-triggered polyplex disassembly provides enhanced spaciotemporal control over cellular protein expression.

Green M.D., Foster A.A., Greco C.T., Roy R., Lehr R.M., Epps III T.H., Sullivan M.O. Catch and release: photocleavable cationic diblock copolymers as a potential platform for nucleic acid delivery. Polym. Chem. 2014, Advance Article.

Foster A.A., Greco C.T., Green M.D., Epps III T.H., Sullivan M.O. Photo-responsive diblock copolymers promote light-triggered unpackaging of siRNA polyplexes for improved gene silencing. In preparation.

Erik Munsell

Erik V. Munsell


Education: B.S. Chemical & Biological Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Minor Biology)

Research Interests: Erik is a graduate student working toward a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. His current research focuses on the design and development of a tunable, histone-mimetic gene delivery system that improves gene transfer and expression of exogenous factors. His work seeks to gain an improved mechanistic understanding of how histone targeting leads to improved osteogenic growth factor expression to help promote bone regeneration. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Theresa Freeman at the Thomas Jefferson University Medical College.

Undergraduate Students

Emily Harvan

Past Members

Matthew Green, Ph.D. – former post-doctoral researcher

Jon Seppala, Ph.D. – former post-doctoral researcher

Sarah Hann, B.S. – (UD 2012) currently pursuing a Ph.D. at UPenn

Robby Pagels, B.S. – (UD 2012) currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Princeton

Raghunath Roy, Ph.D. – former post-doctoral researcher

Thomas Smart, Ph.D. – former post-doctoral reseacher

Vijay Taori, Ph.D. – former post-doctoral reseacher

John Larsen, Ph.D. – (UD 2011) currently employed at ABS Global

Meghan Reilly, Ph.D. – (UD 2011)

Kory Blocker, Ph.D. – (UD 2011) currently a post-doc at Tulane University

Jennifer Devaney, B.S. – (UD 2011) currently employed at Bristol Myers Squibb

Tejal Naik, B.S. – (UD 2011) currently employed at Harvard Medical School

Peter Millili, Ph.D. – (UD 2010) currently employed at Merck

Stephanie Myrick, B.S. – (UD 2009) currently pursuing a M.D. at Thomas Jefferson University

Joshua Selekman, B.S. – (UD 2008) currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the Univ. of Wisconsin

Vincent Buerger, B.S. – (UD 2007) currently pursuing a M.S. in Engineering in Erlangen, Germany

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