Michael R. King is the J. Lawrence Wilson Professor and Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. Previously he was the Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Professor at Cornell University. He completed a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Notre Dame and postdoctoral training in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He has written textbooks on the subjects of statistical methods and microchannel flows, and has received several awards including the NSF CAREER Award, Outstanding Research Awards from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Clinical Chemistry, and was a James D. Watson Investigator of New York State. King is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering, and serves as Vice President of the International Society of Bionic Engineering. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, an official journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and serves as the Chair-Elect of the Biomedical Engineering Council of Chairs.
The King Lab works at the interface between Cellular Engineering, Drug Delivery, and Nanotechnology. We employ tools and concepts from engineering to understand biomedically important processes that occur in the bloodstream, including cancer metastasis, inflammation, and thrombosis. We have found that tumor cells in the circulation can mimic the physical mechanisms used by white blood cells to traffic through the body and adhere to the blood vessel wall, and we have explored strategies to interrupt this metastasis process by targeting specific adhesion receptors. Microscale flow devices have been developed in our lab that recreate the complex microenvironment of the circulation where inflammation and cancer metastasis occur. We have invented new biomaterial surfaces based on natural halloysite nanotubes, that capture rare circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood while simultaneously repelling white blood cells. This nanotube-based flow system has gained attention since it can be easily adopted by clinical and biology labs and recreates the natural rolling process that CTCs follow in the body. The selectin adhesion receptors important in leukocyte, stem cell, and CTC trafficking have unique biophysics that make them ideal for targeted drug delivery. The King Lab has pioneered the use of selectin proteins to deliver apoptosis death signals to tumor cells in flowing blood, and to deliver therapeutic cargo (e.g., siRNA, chemotherapeutics) encapsulated in nanoscale liposomes.
Editor-in-Chief, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
Outstanding Speaker Award, American Association of Clinical Chemistry
Fiona Ip Li ‘78 and Donald Li ’75 Award for Teaching Excellence, Cornell University
Professor of the Year in Engineering, University of Rochester
National Science Foundation CAREER Award
James D. Watson Investigator Award, New York State Office for Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR)
Whitaker Investigator, The Whitaker Foundation
TRAIL-coated leukocytes that prevent the bloodborne metastasis of prostate cancer. Wayne EC, Chandrasekaran S, Mitchell MJ, Chan MF, Lee RE, Schaffer CB, King MR. Journal of Controlled Release. 2016. 223:215-23.
Super natural killer cells that target metastases in the tumor draining lymph nodes. Chandrasekaran S, Chan MF, Li J, King MR. Biomaterials. 2016. 77:66-76.
A physical sciences network characterization of circulating tumor cell aggregate transport. King MR, Phillips KG, Mitrugno A, Lee TR, de Guillebon AM, Chandrasekaran S, McGuire MJ, Carr RT, Baker-Groberg SM, Rigg RA, Kolatkar A, Luttgen M, Bethel K, Kuhn P, Decuzzi P, McCarty OJ. American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology. 2015. 308:C792-802.
TRAIL-coated leukocytes that kill cancer cells in the circulation. Mitchell MJ, Wayne E, Rana K, Schaffer CB, King MR. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 2014. 111:930-5.
Differential drug responses of circulating tumor cells within patient blood. Hughes AD, Marshall JR, Keller E, Powderly JD, Greene BT, King MR. Cancer Letters. 2014. 352:28-35.