Dr. Ana Jaklenec is a principal research scientist and principal investigator at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery. With over 15 years of experience, she a leader in the fields of bioengineering and materials science, focused on controlled delivery and stability of therapeutics for global health. She is an inventor of several drug delivery technologies that have the potential to enable equitable access to medical care globally, has published over 100 manuscripts, patents and patent applications and has founded three companies, Particles for Humanity, VitaKey, and OmniPulse Biosciences.
Dr. Jaklenec received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University. Her postdoctoral training was with Institute Prof. Robert Langer and Prof. Daniel Anderson at MIT, where her research focused on drug delivery of biologics (among other projects). Jaklenec was elected to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Class of Fellows, the highest professional distinction awarded solely to inventors. She is the recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows in 2022 for her work in controlled delivery of vaccines and heat-stable micronutrients for global health and was elected to the Controlled Release Society (CRS) 2022 College of Fellows for her research at the interface of engineering and immunology that utilizes precise fabrication and design of materials at the nano- and micro-scale for use in controlled drug delivery for global health. She has supervised over 50 pre- and postdoctoral students. She is an active member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Controlled Release Society, and the Society for Biomaterials.
Dr. Jaklenec has an extensive research program, leading multiple projects at the interface of material science and immunology. She has supervised and mentored 4 graduate students, 29 technicians, and over 30 postdocs, of which 9 are faculty at leading universities across the globe. Her major focus is the study and development of polymers to deliver liable drugs, particularly vaccines, DNA vectors and mRNAs, in stable form for prolonged periods of time with unique kinetics. Her lab is currently working in the following areas: developing single-injection self-boosting vaccines; nanocarrier-based vaccine approaches targeting protective memory responses after parenteral immunization; 3D printed on-demand microneedle vaccines; developing on patient medical records using invisible dyes; creating long-term drug delivery systems for cancer immunotherapy; developing heat stable polymer-based carriers for oral delivery of micronutrients and probiotics. In her recent study, published in Nature Biotechnology, her research group developed a printer to produce thermostable Covid-19 RNA vaccines that could induce a comparable immune response to that generated by injected RNA vaccines.
She is an active member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Controlled Release Society (CRS), and the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) and the currently serves as the Chair of the CRS Oral Drug Delivery Focus Group, the Secretary/Treasurer of the SFB Drug Delivery SIG, and Co-Chair of the Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery Symposium.