A view of the Latrobe Hall building and the cherry blossoms on the side.

Yun ChenYun Chen, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been selected to receive NIH’s Trailblazer Award.

The two-year, $400,000 award, administered through the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, supports innovative early-career researchers tackling high-risk, potentially high-impact projects. The ultimate goal is to foster the invention of methods, instruments, and materials that will open new avenues of research.

Chen and her team will use the award to develop a first-of-its-kind, tension-sensitive drug release system that targets only diseased cells, leaving healthy cells alone. The system promises to enhance efficacy in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, kidney disease, and dementia, while reducing adverse effects and improving both survival rates and patients’ quality of life.