Brown BME Spotlight: Dr. Theresa Raimondo, Faculty

February 6, 2024
Rachel Coogan, I-BEAM Manager

Theresa Raimondo is an Assistant Professor of Engineering, with a secondary appointment in the Division of Biology and Medicine. You can find her presenting a pathobiology seminar on Thursday, February 8, at 12:00 p.m. ET. And presenting a biomedical engineering seminar on Thursday, April 4, at 11:00 a.m. ET. 

Dr. Raimondo’s research is broadly focused on the design of targeted drug-delivery vectors and novel RNA-based therapeutics for applications in cancer, immunotherapy, and tissue regeneration. 

Dr. Raimondo received her postdoctoral training with Dr. Daniel Anderson and Dr. Robert Langer at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She did her graduate work on the development of immune-modulating gold nanoparticles and hydrogels for muscle regeneration with Dr. David Mooney, receiving a Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences–Bioengineering from Harvard University in 2019. She received her Sc.B. in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from Brown University in 2011. 

Raimondo has been a recipient of several awards such as a 2022 Convergence Scholar fellowship from MIT’s Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship, and Harvard’s Smith family graduate fellowship.

The MIT Faculty Founder Initiative has announced twelve finalists for the 2023-2024 MIT-Royalty Pharma Prize Competition, a program created to support female faculty entrepreneurs in biotechnology and provide them with resources to help take their ideas to commercialization. Brown engineering professors Kareen Coulombe and Theresa Raimondo were among those finalists. 

Let’s learn more about Theresa from Theresa herself…


What is your early memory of actively choosing STEM/science/engineering?

I have an innate curiosity and a penchant for asking "why?" Since childhood, I found myself drawn to understanding the mechanisms behind scientific phenomena, a trait that seamlessly aligns with the fundamental principles of STEM disciplines. Stemming from this curiosity is a passion for problem-solving and innovation, essential attributes in the realm of biomedical engineering. I want to make tangible impacts in the realm of translational therapeutics.


What motivated you to choose Brown University?

My journey into the field of biomedical engineering led me to Brown University, where I pursued my undergraduate studies in chemical and biochemical engineering. Now, as a professor, I was drawn back to Brown because of the university's interdisciplinary approach to education and research. “Brown is a cool place…it allows for collaboration across very different areas of expertise.” This culture of collaboration within a diverse community of experts—especially at the Institute for Biology, Engineering, and Medicine (I-BEAM)—offers the ideal environment to pursue my research interests at the intersection of engineering and medicine. 


What most excites and inspires you about your research?

Regarding my current research endeavors, I’m particularly excited about my work in developing lipid nanoparticles for RNA delivery. Like the groundbreaking COVID-19 vaccine technologies, there’s the transformative potential of RNA-based therapeutics in targeting a wide range of diseases and therapeutic pathways previously inaccessible via traditional treatments. Through my research, I aim to harness the power of RNA delivery to advance treatments in immune engineering—offering new hope for diseases that were previously untreatable.


Tell us more about your lab. What do you look for in students looking to join your team?

My lab focuses on several key areas, with a primary emphasis on drug delivery, particularly utilizing lipid nanoparticles to deliver nucleic acids, notably RNA. This approach holds immense promise in the field of immune engineering, a burgeoning area of research with applications ranging from cancer immunotherapy to tissue regeneration.

The cornerstone of my lab is a passion for addressing pressing clinical health problems through innovative engineering solutions. When searching for prospective teammates, I look for a genuine interest in the research. “Passion is number one…it’s a driving force that propels individuals through the challenges inherent in scientific inquiry.”

Furthermore, I seek students with diverse skill sets, blending expertise from molecular biology with a strong foundation in engineering and quantitative analysis. This multidisciplinary approach is integral to optimizing lipid nanoparticle design and delivery parameters, ultimately enhancing the efficacy of therapeutic interventions.

Central to my vision for the lab is a culture of collaboration and diversity. At Brown University, renowned for its interdisciplinary environment, I foster an ecosystem where students with varied backgrounds come together to tackle complex research questions. This collaborative ethos extends beyond the confines of the lab, reflecting the broader culture at Brown.


What do you like to do outside the lab?

I enjoy connecting with other women in STEM—advising, mentoring, and supporting diversity and inclusion efforts, especially within biomedical engineering. I benefited from these connections as a student and I intend to continue to promote these relationships as a professor. Besides science, which is my core passion, dance offers a creative outlet.