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Emily Day - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Emily Day

Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering | University of Delaware


Prof. Day engineers drug & biomolecule nanocarriers for targeted treatment of cancers, blood disorders, and reproductive health conditions.






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Why dual light therapy hits triple negative breast cancer harder




Dr. Day was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, and obtained her B.S. in Physics with a Minor in Mathematics from the University of Oklahoma in 2006, graduating summa cum laude. Dr. Day received the Carl Albert Award, which is granted to the top senior in the College of Arts and Sciences based on academics, moral force of character, and promise of future service to the state and nation. In 2011, she earned her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Rice University, where she worked under the guidance of Dr. Jennifer West to develop nanoparticles for photothermal cancer therapy. While at Rice, Dr. Day received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Rice President’s Graduate Fellowship, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med-Into-Grad Fellowship. Next, Dr. Day joined the laboratory of Dr. Chad Mirkin in the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University, where she developed RNA-gold nanoparticle conjugates to treat brain tumors through gene regulation. Dr. Day received an International Institute for Nanotechnology postdoctoral fellowship and a National Institutes of Health F32 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship during her time at Northwestern University.

Dr. Day joined the faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware (UD) in 2013, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020. In 2022, she was named Associate Director of the Institute for Engineering Driven Health at UD. Her research engineers nanoparticles for high precision therapy of diseases including aggressive cancers, blood disorders, and reproductive health conditions. She has received several notable honors for her research, including the 2018 Rita Schaffer Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society, an NSF CAREER Award, Young Innovator/Emerging Investigator awards from four journals (Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Journal, Nano Research Journal, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, and Biomaterials Science), the 2018 Gerard J. Mangone Young Scholar Award from the Francis Alison Society, NIH R35 and R01 grants, and a W.M. Keck Foundation Science and Engineering Grant. Additionally, she was an invited participant in the 2019 National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. In 2022, Dr. Day was named a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and she also received the Mid-Career Faculty Excellence in Scholarship Award from UD that year.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (8)

Precision Medicine

Drug Delivery

Translational Research

Gene Regulation



Targeted Therapy


Media Appearances (4)

Four engineering professors honored | UDaily

University of Delaware  online


Gore Professor of Chemical Engineering Wilfred Chen, Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Emily Day, Department of Materials Science and Engineering Chair and Professor Darrin Pochan and Mechanical Engineering Professor Liyun Wang join 149 other fellows recognized this year by the AIMBE for “distinguished and continuing achievements in medical and biological engineering.”

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Bone marrow research | UDaily

University of Delaware  online


University of Delaware biomedical engineer Emily Day is working on technology that may one day replace bone marrow transplants.

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New Weapon Against Breast Cancer

University of Delaware  


Now UD researchers Emily Day, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and Joel Rosenthal, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and their labs have shown that a combination of two minimally invasive therapies could give doctors a more powerful weapon against this cancer as well as others.

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Changing the color of light

Phys Org  online


The research team, based in UD's College of Engineering, is led by Matthew Doty, associate professor of materials science and engineering and associate director of UD's Nanofabrication Facility. Doty's co-investigators include Joshua Zide, Diane Sellers and Chris Kloxin, all in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; and Emily Day and John Slater, both in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

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Articles (5)

Megakaryocyte membrane‐wrapped nanoparticles for targeted cargo delivery to hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells

Bioengineering & Translational Medicine

2023 Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) are desirable targets for gene therapy but are notoriously difficult to target and transfect. Existing viral vector‐based delivery methods are not effective in HSPCs due to their cytotoxicity, limited HSPC uptake and lack of target specificity (tropism). Poly(lactic‐co‐glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs) are attractive, nontoxic carriers that can encapsulate various cargo and enable its controlled release. To engineer PLGA NP tropism for HSPCs, megakaryocyte (Mk) membranes, which possess HSPC‐targeting moieties, were extracted and wrapped around PLGA NPs, producing MkNPs. In vitro, fluorophore‐labeled MkNPs are internalized by HSPCs within 24 h and were selectively taken up by HSPCs versus other physiologically related cell types.

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E-Selectin Targeted Gold Nanoshells to Inhibit Breast Cancer Cell Binding to Lung Endothelial Cells

ACS Applied Nano Materials

2023 Extravasation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from the vasculature is a key step in cancer metastasis. CTCs bind to cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) expressed by endothelial cells (ECs) for flow arrest prior to extravasation. While a number of EC-expressed CAMs have been implicated in facilitating CTC binding, this work investigated the efficacy of inhibiting cancer cell binding to human lung microvascular ECs via antibody blocking of E-selectin using antibody-functionalized gold nanoshells (NS). The antibody-functionalized gold NS were synthesized using both directional and non-directional antibody conjugation techniques with variations in synthesis parameters (linker length, amount of passivating agents, and ratio of antibodies to NS) to gain a better understanding of these properties on the resultant hydrodynamic diameter, zeta potential, and antibody loading density.

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Membrane-wrapped nanoparticles for photothermal cancer therapy

Nano Convergence

2022 Cancer is a global health problem that needs effective treatment strategies. Conventional treatments for solid-tumor cancers are unsatisfactory because they cause unintended harm to healthy tissues and are susceptible to cancer cell resistance. Nanoparticle-mediated photothermal therapy is a minimally invasive treatment for solid-tumor cancers that has immense promise as a standalone therapy or adjuvant to other treatments like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiotherapy. To maximize the success of photothermal therapy, light-responsive nanoparticles can be camouflaged with cell membranes to endow them with unique biointerfacing capabilities that reduce opsonization, prolong systemic circulation, and improve tumor delivery through enhanced passive accumulation or homotypic targeting.

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Isocorrole-Loaded Polymer Nanoparticles for Photothermal Therapy under 980 nm Light Excitation

ACS Omega

2022 Photothermal therapy (PTT) is a promising treatment option for diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and periodontitis. Typical photothermal agents (PTAs) absorb light in the near-infrared (NIR)-I region of 650–900 nm with a predominant focus around 800 nm, as these wavelengths are minimally absorbed by water and blood in the tissue. Recently, interest has grown in developing nanomaterials that offer more efficient photothermal conversion and that can be excited by light close to or within the NIR-II window of 1000–1700 nm, which offers less absorption by melanin. Herein, we report on the development of 5,5-diphenyl isocorrole (5-DPIC) complexes containing either Zn(II) or Pd(II) (Zn[5-DPIC] and Pd[5-DPIC], respectively) that absorb strongly across the 850–1000 nm window.

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Membrane-Wrapped Nanoparticles for Enhanced Chemotherapy of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering

2022 This work reports the development of a biomimetic membrane-wrapped nanoparticle (MWNP) platform for targeted chemotherapy of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Doxorubicin (DOX), a chemotherapeutic used to treat leukemias, lymphomas, and other cancers, was encapsulated in polymeric NPs that were coated with cytoplasmic membranes derived from human AML cells. The release rate of DOX from the MWNPs was characterized under both storage and physiological conditions, with faster release observed at pH 5.5 than pH 7.4. The system was then introduced to AML cell cultures to test the functionality of the released DOX cargo as compared to DOX delivered freely or via NPs coated with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG).

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Accomplishments (11)

Fellow, American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering, (professional)


Mid-Career Faculty Excellent in Scholarship Award, University of Delaware (professional)


Emerging Investigator, Biomaterials Science journal (professional)


Emerging Investigator, Journal of Materials Chemistry B (professional)


Michael Bowman Biomedical Engineering Innovation Award (professional)


Invited Participant, National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (professional)


Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award, Biomedical Engineering Society (professional)


Gerard J. Mangone Young Scholars Award, University of Delaware's Francis Alison Society (professional)


National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award (professional)


Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, Cellular & Molecular Bioengineering journal (professional)


Young Innovator Award in Nanobiotechnology, Nano Research journal (professional)


Education (2)

Rice University: PhD, Bioengineering 2011

University of Oklahoma: BS, Physics 2006

Languages (1)

  • English