New Faculty Member Highlight: Dr. Piyush Jain

Dr. Piyush Jain, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, has recently joined the Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World. His background is in pharmaceutical sciences and biomolecular engineering.

In March 2021, Jain was named as holder of the Shah Rising Star Professorship for his contributions to developing a multi-scale biomolecular engineering platform using nucleic acids chemistry, protein engineering, and nanoengineering. The prestigious endowed professorship is awarded to early career faculty who demonstrate distinguished performance in engineering research and teaching.

Jain’s research centers around diagnosing and treating genetic disorders. His Nano-Biomolecular Precision Lab (Jain Lab) engineers new biomolecular systems to improve precision and delivery of genome editing tools including CRISPR/Cas systems. The lab chemically modifies CRISPR components to improve the existing systems and develops biomolecular nanosystems to deliver nucleic acids and proteins to the desired tissues.

The Jain lab recently developed a CRISPR-ENHANCE technology (Nature communications, 2020; Methods, 2021; Communications Medicine-Nature in revision, 2021) by modifying crRNAs that can drastically enhance the efficiency of CRISPR/Cas systems for detecting a range of nucleic acid targets including prostate cancer, HIV, HCV, and SARS-CoV-2.

Although Jain is a new member of the institute, he has already initiated collaborations with other members on developing next-generation CRISPR-based diagnostic technologies.

Jain’s research interests include: Bioengineering, Gene Editing, CRISPR/Cas, Nucleic acids & Protein Engineering, Nanomaterials, and Responsive Systems