Professor Tania Betancourt, PhD

Contact Information

 
    Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
    Texas State University – San Marcos
    Office: Centennial Hall 340 D
    Laboratory: Centennial Hall 343
    601 University Drive
    San Marcos, TX 78666
    Office: (512) 245-7703
    Laboratory: (512) 245-1412
    Fax: (512) 245-2374

 

Education

B.S., Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station
M.S., Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Advisors: Professors Lisa Brannon-Peppas and R. Malcolm Brown
Postdoctoral Research, Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Advisor: Professor Nicholas A. Peppas

 

BioSketch

Dr. Betancourt leads the research of the Biomaterials and Nanomedicine laboratory, which focuses on the development of functional polymeric nanostructures for the detection, monitoring, and treatment of cancer and other diseases.
Prior to joining Texas State University in 2011, Dr. Betancourt worked at InnoSense LLC, a technology company serving the aerospace, energy, defense, and health care market. During her three-year tenure at InnoSense, Dr. Betancourt held the positions of Research Scientist, Team Leader, and Deputy Director-R&D. At InnoSense, Dr. Betancourt was responsible for developing novel technologies in the areas of biosensors, biomaterials, therapeutics, theranostics, contrast agent, drug delivery, and specialty materials. She secured funding for support of R&D of biomedical and specialty material technologies as a Principal Investigator through small business innovation research (SBIR) grants from federal agencies, including two Phase I SBIRs from the National Institutes of Health totaling $384k, and two Phase I and one Phase II SBIR grants from NASA totaling $800k.
Dr. Betancourt is currently a recipient of a grant by the Research Corporation for the Advancement of Science, and is co-PI in a NSF PREM grant (2012) and a Texas State University Research Enhancement Program award. Additional awards include the David and Mary Miller Fellowship (2006-2007), NSF IGERT Graduate Research Fellowship (2004-2006), Thrust 2000 Fellowship (2003-2007), Lindsay Scholarship (2001-2002), and the American Chemical Society Scholars Program scholarship (1999-2002).  During her graduate studies, Dr. Betancourt was recipient of the Schlumberger Grand Award for best paper and presentation and Schlumberger Centaur Award in Nano/Microelectronics and MEMS in the Graduate and Industry Networking Conference (2006), and the Best Paper award in the Nano-Night 2005 Scientific Forum in Nanotechnology (2005). Dr. Betancourt graduated Magna Cum Laude with her B.S. in Chemical Engineering. She also participated in Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.
Dr. Betancourt’s work has been documented in four peer-reviewed publications, two review articles, two book chapters, and multiple professional presentations.

 

Research Summary/Statement:

Dr. Betancourt’s research focuses on capturing the promise of nanomaterials for the development of new strategies for the detection and treatment of diseases. Specifically, her group develops functional nanostructures that can act as highly specific contrast agents for bioimaging, in vitro and in vivo biosensors, targeted and intracellular drug delivery systems, and externally controlled delivery systems. These responsive nanomaterials incorporate functional nucleic acid linkers, enzymatically cleavable linkers, polyelectrolytes, and amphiphilic copolymers to mediate physico-chemical changes in the polymeric networks upon interaction with target molecules, leading to the desired material response. Work in the laboratory encompasses the synthesis and characterization of copolymers and nanoparticles, in vitro confirmation of stimuli-responsive behavior, and the evaluation of the particle functionality on cultured human cells. Dr. Betancourt’s group collaborates with academic and industrial researchers for preclinical evaluation of the compatibility and efficacy of the developed biomaterials and technology transfer.Current projects in Dr. Betancourt’s laboratory include the development of: (1) aptamer-based responsive nanostructures that can be activated by disease-specific molecules, and on the study of the applications of these functional materials in targeted drug delivery, bioimaging, and biomolecular sensing; (2) highly specific nanoparticle-based near infrared contrast agents for optical detection and monitoring of cancer; (3) amyloid-based hybrid materials that can self-assemble into highly organized structures; (4) self-assembled nanostructures based on amphiphilic copolymers.

Research Experience

experience

Honors and Awards

  • Recipient, David and Mary Miller Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 2006-2007
  • Recipient, Schlumberger Grand Award for best paper and presentation and Schlumberger Centaur Award in Nano/Microelectronics and MEMS, Graduate and Industry Networking Conference held by the Graduate Engineering Council, University of Texas at Austin, January 24, 2006
  • Recipient, Best Paper award, Nano-Night 2005 Scientific Forum in Nanotechnology. Center of Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology, University of Texas at Austin, April 22, 2005
  • Recipient, NSF IGERT Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Texas, 2004-2006
  • Recipient, Thrust 2000 Fellowship, College of Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 2003-2007
  • Magna Cum Laude honor graduation in Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 2002
  • Recipient, Lindsay Scholarship, Texas A&M University, 2001-2002
  • Recipient, American Chemical Society Scholars Program Scholarship, 1999-2002
  • Member, Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honor Society
  • Member, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
  • Member, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society of the Two Year College
Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae – Tania Betancourt.pdf