Dr. Hyo-Jick Choi is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta, and runs a sustainable engineering and drug delivery design (SEƎD) lab investigating new materials directed towards health and environmental applications. He has amassed knowledge in different disciplines of science as the result of his diverse background. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Ceramic Engineering from Yonsei University in Korea in 1999 and 2001, respectively. He continued his Ph.D. studies in Biomedical Engineering at UCLA (2002-2006) and at the University of Cincinnati (2006-2007). His research resulted in generation of two start-up companies. After completing his Ph.D. studies, he worked in the capacity of R&D manager in the company and played critical role in the commercialization of these technologies. He then conducted postdoctoral research in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology (2009-2010). Prior to joining the University of Alberta, Dr. Choi served as research assistant professor in Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Cincinnati, where he worked as the Principal Investigator of oral vaccine delivery project.
Dr. Hyo-Jick Choi is a firm believer of the decisive role of innovative technologies in improving the quality of life. With this belief, he has dedicated his research career to engineer sustainable technologies, which are focused on resolving global issues in environment and health. The first goal of his current research is to develop low cost transdermal/oral vaccines with high efficacy as well as universal infection control measures. He researches technologies to solve global health issues related to pandemic and epidemic diseases. In the event of a pandemic or epidemic outbreak, vaccines can greatly reduce morbidity and mortality. However, storage stability is a primary challenge in vaccine technology. Additionally, several months pass before the newly developed vaccine is available for administration. Thus, his investigation is conducted under two different scenarios: available and unavailable vaccine. In the first case, he aims to produce long-term stable, solid vaccines for oral administration. In the second case, he functionalizes the filters of surgical masks and respirators to deactivate multiple viral strains. This research aims to develop universal and reusable personal protective measures with no risk of cross contamination.
The overall goal of his research is to develop nano-scale systems with precisely tailored materials by using interdisciplinary approach and focus on their commercial applications in environment and global health problems.
Keywords: Epidemic/pandemic disease control measures, vaccine technology, airborne pathogen deactivation technology, oral/transdermal vaccine, oral/transdermal drug delivery systems, microneedles, solid vaccine formulation, microparticles, pathogen deactivating mask/respirator