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Aaron Schwartz-Duval

   My name is Aaron Star Schwartz-Duval, I grew up in Kalamazoo, MI, and was given the opportunity to attend Michigan State University as an early beneficiary of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship. Before the announcement of the Promise, I did not have aspirations for college or university education. However, from the announcement and ensuing receipt of that gift, I was instilled with a sense of responsibility and obligation to take advantage of this gift for a good greater than myself. This has manifested in my professional trajectory through scientific outreach, mentorship, teaching, and advancement of medicine – resulting in my completion of a doctorate in bioengineering, research publications, and my current position developing nano-enabled therapeutics at the premier cancer institution in the world, MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

If you’d like to reach out to me related to my research please send me an email: Aaron [dot] SchwartzDuval [at] MDAnderson [dot] org

Research Philosophy

Life derives a profound strength and resiliency through diversity. This link of survivability with diversity has been observed in every living system where the question has been interrogated. However, through the current paradigm of medicine, addressing specific and unique patient needs is not inherent. More recently, there is growing appreciation for the personalization of medicine - especially regarding the treatment of cancer through nanomedicine approaches.

However, even most modern and experimental therapeutics are typically developed with only individual targets for therapy or diagnosis - for either on or off responses - with few (but growing in number) strategies that are spectral or adaptable to match pathological complexity.

Nature has already provided tools that are capable of complex spectral or adaptable responses. I seek to explore how we can enhance these tools provided by nature using nanotechnology to address disease.   

Research Directions

Cells or components from cells have shown considerable potential to address biomedical issues.

My research is focused in three major directions to enhance this potential using nanotechnology

(see text and scheme below): 

1) In Situ Nanomedicine: 

On-site generation of nano-vectors through interactions between  implanted material and living tissue.

2) Cells as Nanoparticle Factories: 

Using extracellular particles produced by cells after interacting with ‘pre-nanoparticle’ materials.

3) Endogenous Biomaterials for Reflexive Applications: 

Extraction and isolation of endogenous biomaterials followed by their utilization to generate therapeutics or sensors for treatments or diagnostics reflecting the materials’ source.

In Situ Nanomedicine

Cells as Nanoparticle Factories

Endogenous Biomaterials 


Schematic illustration of three major directions of research exemplified through application against cancer

Art by Kelly Kage

by Aaron S. Schwartz-Duval, PhD. 

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