Posted: April 21, 2021

Tony Schmitt, VBS Professor of Molecular Virology, has been named the 2021 recipient of Penn State’s Research Innovator Award. The award recognizes faculty and staff in the College of Agricultural Sciences who have commercialized technologies generated through Penn State research. Tony’s research group is developing a technology that allows delivery of therapeutic proteins into cells. The technology is based on the discovery that for certain viruses, the particle formation process can be manipulated in a way that allows proteins of interest to package into the particles in the same way that virus genomes would normally be packaged. The end result is virus-like particles that are loaded with the desired protein, and capable of depositing the cargo into the cytoplasms of target cells. Applications include CRISPR-based genome editing, which is severely constrained at present by the lack of safe and effective delivery strategies.