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Biotechnology and Bioengineering journal features Palmer Lab research

Palmer Group article featured on cover of Biotechnology and Bioengineering. Cover art by Donald Belcher.Palmer Group article featured on cover of Biotechnology and Bioengineering. Cover art by Donald Belcher and Richard Hickey.A research paper by the Palmer Group, "Novel Manufacturing method for producing apohemoglobin and its biophysical properties," has been featured on the cover of the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering.

Led by Professor Andre Palmer, the team consists of undergraduate researcher and first-author Ivan Pires and graduate student researchers and cover artists Donald Belcher and Richard Hickey, and others.

The paper describes a novel manufacturing method for producing apohemoglobin that is faster and safer. Moreover, the process uses scalable methods, enabling potential future clinical application. In addition, the research provides a comprehensive biochemical analysis of apohemoglobin and reconstituted hemoglobin.

Professor Palmer is a global leader in blood substitute research and engineering biomaterials for use in transfusion medicine and tissue engineering. He is currently working to develop safer, more commercially viable RBC substitutes that could tide patients over until they receive a human blood transfusion.

One of the problems with the use of stored blood and artificial blood is the release of heme (i.e. byproduct of hemoglobin breakdown) into the blood stream. Heme is toxic to cells and organs, especially the kidneys, where it can lead to kidney failure. Subsequently, researchers are exploring the therapeutic usage of apohemoglobin, which has the ability to scavenge and detoxify heme.

The paper marks Ivan Pires' second first-author publication as an undergraduate. A winner of the 2017 Pelotonia Research Fellowship, Pires was selected to participate as one of 15 undergraduate researchers nationwide at the NC State 2019 Future Leaders in Chemical Engineering Symposium, in addition to other research honors. Pires' ideas for researching apohemoglobin first surfaced in 2016 while working in Dr. Palmer's lab on an Undergraduate Research Office Summer Research Fellowship

Palmer Group members-2019Palmer Group members-2019: Top: Donald Belcher, Quintin O'Boyle, Emily McDonel, Shaun Gu, Chintan Savla, Evan Martindale; Bottom: Ivan Pires, Richard Hickey, Dr. Crystal Bolden-Rush, Dr. Andre Palmer, Savannah Moses, Christopher Gilbert, Clayton Cudington (2019).


Novel manufacturing method for producing apohemoglobin and its biophysical properties. Pires IS, Belcher DA, Hickey R, Miller C, Badu-Tawiah AK, Baek JH, Buehler PW, Palmer AF. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2020 Jan;117(1):125-145. doi: 10.1002/bit.27193. Epub 2019 Nov 15. PMID: 31612988