Dr. Cole A. DeForest is a formally-trained chemical engineer with additional expertise in material science, organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, bioengineering, biophysics, protein engineering, and photochemistry. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow working with Prof. David Tirrell in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. His research in the Tirrell lab focuses on the development of a novel class of engineered protein therapeutics whose delivery profile can be dictated precisely with light and offers promising new avenues in needleless-treatment of chronic illness and early-stage detection of disease. More generally, his research aims to develop dynamically-tunable biomaterial platforms that aid in understanding fundamental biological processes and to exploit this ascertained information in the engineering of functional human tissue.
Cole obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011. As a graduate student in Prof. Kristi Anseth's laboratory, he developed novel polymer-based hydrogel materials for use in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications, for which he received graduate student research awards from the Society for Biomaterials, the American Chemical Society, and the Materials Research Society. His graduate work was funded through NIH, DoEd, and Univ. of Colorado fellowships and has appeared in journals including Nature Materials, Nature Chemistry, and Angewandte Chemie. Cole earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 2006, performing computational undergraduate thesis work with Profs. Christodoulos Floudas and James Broach.