David Putnam

David A. Putnam

Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering
Weill Hall, Room 147
Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


David Putnam joined the College of Engineering at Cornell University in 2002. Prior to joining the engineering faculty, he was an NIH postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT in the laboratory of Professor Robert Langer. From 2000 until 2002, he held a joint appointment MIT and as a Scientific co-Founder of a start-up company, TransForm Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in March, 2005. In 2008-2009 he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at PureTech Ventrures in Boston, MA where he focused on emerging technologies in the field of drug delivery. He is currently a member of seven Editorial Advisory Boards including Pharmaceutical Research, Journal of Controlled Release, Analytical Biochemistry and Experimental Biology and Medicine. His funding sources include NIH, NSF, the Coulter Foundation and the Department of Defense. He is a Fellow of AIMBE (reserved for the top 2% of Biomedical Engineers in the United States) and the Coulter Foundation. He received his B.S. in Pharmacy from Union University and his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

Research Interests

The Putnam group continues to expand its position in the field of functional biomaterials through the exploration of new materials and systems applied to human health. This past year the group had funding from a range of sources including the National Institutes of Health (5 NIH Grants total), New York State (Center for Advanced Technology) Industry (Total, Inc) and Foundations (Found Animal Foundation). The group is comprised of a dynamic and wonderful collection of graduate students, postdocs, master's and undergraduate students. Our current demographic profile includes a women:men ratio of 1:1, including 2 URM students. The H-Index for the group is a healty 25 (Web of Science). One hallmark of the group's standing in the field of functional biomaterials is the publication of 2 invited reviews in field-leading journals (Chemical reviews [IF 46.568], and the Journal of Controlled Release [IF 7.705]). The commercial opportunities associated with the work are of particular note, with two funded Ithaca-based companies using Putnam lab materials/techniques, one successful CTSC grant, and a new CTSC grant application currently in review. Additional commercialization opportunities are in development and are part of the sabbatical plan for Spring 2016.

Teaching Interests

Engineering principles for biomedical applications.

Selected Publications

  • Zawaneh, P N., S P. Singh, R F. Padera, P W. Henderson, J A. Spector, David A. Putnam.  2010. "Design of an injectable synthetic and biodegradable surgical biomaterial."  PNAS 107 (24): 11014-11019.
  • Chen, D J., N. Osterrieder, S M. Metzger, E. Buckles, A M. Doody, Matthew DeLisa, David A. Putnam.  2010. "Delivery of foreign antigens by engineered outer membrane vesicle vaccines."  PNAS 107 (7): 3099-3104.
  • Wong, S Y., N. Sood, David A. Putnam.  2009. "Combinatorial evaluation of cations, pH-sensitive and hydrophobic moieties for polymeric vector design."  Molecular Therapy 17 (3): 480-490.
  • Pelet, J M., David A. Putnam.  2009. "High molecular weight poly(methacrylic acid) with narrow polydispersity by RAFT polymerization."Macromolecules 42 (5): 1494-1499.
  • Putnam, David A.  2006. "Polymers for gene delivery across length scales."  Nature Materials 5 (6): 439-451.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Editorial Advisory Board (Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group) 2016
  • Invited Speaker (Keystone Symposium) 2015
  • Michaelson Grant (Found Animals Foundation) 2014
  • Fiona Ip Li '78 and Donald Li '75 Excellence in Teaching Award (Cornell, College of Engineering) 2010
  • Fellow [American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)] 2009


  • B.S. (Pharmacy), Albany College of Pharmacy at Union University, 1990
  • Ph.D. (Pharmaceutical Chemistry), University of Utah, 1996
  • Postdoc Langer Lab (Biomaterials and drug delivery), MIT, 1996-1999


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