Palmer named Ohio Eminent Scholar

Posted: March 1, 2020
Andre Palmer in lab holding blood substitute

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Andre Palmer, one of the world’s leading experts in blood substitute research and engineering, has been named an Ohio Eminent Scholar.

The Ohio Eminent Scholars (OES) Program was created by the Ohio General Assembly and is administered by the Ohio Board of Regents. Its goal is to enhance the national eminence of selected outstanding academic programs at Ohio universities by attracting nationally recognized scholars.

Palmer, who recently concluded a four-year term as department chair for the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University, was chosen for the prestigious statewide endowed chair in recognition of his breakthrough research innovations.

His work is of critical importance to human health, and could help save lives. For instance, with a looming threat of future red blood cell (RBC) shortages and increased demands posed by injuries, wars, natural disasters and routine surgery, he and his team are developing safe and efficacious RBC substitutes that could be used to sustain a patient who needs blood for up to 48 hours—enough time to get the patient to a hospital for a blood transfusion. 

Palmer’s research in biomaterials for transfusion medicine and tissue engineering has attracted nearly $11 million in funding, including four RO1s from the National Institutes of Health and grants from the Department of Defense.

Funds from the OES Program will boost his program even further. “Support from the OES chair will give me the ability to work on high risk, high reward problems in transfusion medicine,” said Palmer, who in 2015 was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), which comprises the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. 

Earlier this year, the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering featured engineering research from Palmer's lab on its cover. The paper describes a novel method for producing apohemoglobin from hemoglobin that is superior to current methods. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen and carbon dioxide and gives blood its red color. Removing heme from hemoglobin produces apohemoglobin, which has the potential to carry therapeutics in its unoccupied heme-binding pockets, directly enhancing their solubility in vivo. 

A graduate of Howard University (B.S., 1995) and Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D., 1998), Palmer has been teaching and conducting research at Ohio State since 2006. He received the College of Engineering's Harrison Faculty Award for Excellence in Engineering Education in 2012. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.