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Nanomedicine and drug delivery expert Emmanuel Ho joins Waterloo Pharmacy

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Emmanuel HoThe Waterloo School of Pharmacy is pleased to welcome Associate Professor Emmanuel Ho to the faculty.  Ho joins Waterloo Pharmacy from the University of Manitoba and has research experience in developing strategies for the imaging, treatment, and prevention of diseases.

“Dr. Ho’s research is focused on drug delivery and dosage form design with an emphasis on delivery of nanomedicines and vaccines for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, cancer, and wound healing,” says Hallman Director David Edwards. “His expertise will add to the growing strength of the School of Pharmacy and the University of Waterloo in nanomedicine.”

The HoResearchGroup receives supports from diverse agencies like NSERC, CIHR, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and conducts ground-breaking work in developing biomaterials that can be used to improve drug delivery. These include multifunctional nanoparticles, ‘smart’ medical devices, 3D-printed polymers, and more. Ho discusses the group’s ongoing work in building their own 3D printers to create drug delivery systems:

“The ability to build our own 3D printer from ‘scratch’ provides our team with the flexibility to control the type of biomaterial that the drug delivery system is made from. For example, our 3D printers can accommodate a variety of polymers with varying viscosity, melting temperature, glass transition temperature, and flexibility. Most importantly, we are able to use 3D printing as a novel strategy for controlling drug release rates.”

Ho’s interdisciplinary approach to research is a good fit with Waterloo Pharmacy’s interest in innovative solutions to healthcare problems.

“I joined the School of Pharmacy at the University of Waterloo because of the excellent research infrastructure, the well-established undergraduate and graduate programs, and to be among some of the top scientists in the world,” says Ho. “Internationally, University of Waterloo is recognized as the most innovative academic institution in Canada with the School of Pharmacy located at the heart of the “Innovation District.”

His research group also examines unique solutions to treating cancer and HIV/AIDs.  In cancer, they are exploring how nanoparticles – particles about 1000 times smaller than the width of a single strand of hair – can be used to improve treatment and imaging of tumours. Ho’s team is developing particles that can target cancer cells and deliver medication specifically to those cells, leaving healthy cells untouched.

His innovative and solution-oriented approach to combatting some of the world’s most prevalent diseases exemplifies why Ho is a strong addition to Waterloo Pharmacy’s faculty. Welcome, Dr. Ho!