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Allison C. Rice-Ficht

Allison C. Rice-Ficht

Regents Professor

Interim Vice Dean, Associate Vice President for Research and Director of the Center for Microencapsulation and Drug Delivery

Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine
COM South Bldg., 154 Reynolds/Room 425 Reynolds Medical Building
College Station, Texas   77843

Phone: 979-458-1024 / 979-845-2728
Fax: 979-847-9481
a-ficht@tamu.edu

Education and Training

Vanderbilt University,
Ph.D., transcriptional regulation in bacteriophage T5, 1980

Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in the Department of Molecular & Cellular Medicine,
studying gene expression in parasites, 1984

Interim Dean of Research & Graduate Studies of the College of Medicine, 1999

Interim Assistant Dean of Research & Graduate Studies for the College of Medicine, 1999 to 2003

Director, Center for Microencapulation & Drug Delivery and was recently awarded a Regents Professorship

Teaching Interests

  • Molecular parasitology
  • Molecular biology
  • Genetics and molecular pathogenesis

Allison Rice-Ficht, Ph.D., Vice Dean for the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, Regent’s Professor of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, director of Center for Microencapsulation and Drug Delivery, and associate vice president for Research at Texas A&M Health Science Center Dr. Rice-Ficht received her bachelors of science from Auburn University and her doctorate from Vanderbilt University in 1980 investigating mechanisms of viral infection. In post-doctoral work at the University of Iowa she developed a keen interest in tropical diseases and uncovered the molecular basis of infection by the African sleeping sickness parasite, Trypanosoma brucei.

Since 1984, Dr. Rice-Ficht has been a member of the faculty of Texas A&M Health Science Center continuing her interest in tropical disease and vaccine development. These studies unexpectedly revealed a natural capsule produced by parasitic worms that could be used for timed-release of vaccines and drugs. Dr. Rice-Ficht has engineered this capsule or particle with the ultimate goal of creating a needle-free “pocket vaccine” delivery system for the delivery of virtually any vaccine.

The Rice-Ficht laboratory currently uses micro and nanoparticles for timed release of vaccines, producing a continual boosting effect and enhanced vaccination. This technology has been applied to the production of vaccines for brucellosis, tuberculosis and Q fever through funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the Gates Foundation.

Since 2002, Dr. Rice-Ficht has served as the Director for the Center for Microencapsulation and Drug Delivery, a group of life scientists and engineers pioneering sustained and targeted delivery of vaccines and pharmaceuticals. She also serves as Associate Vice-President for Research of the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Research Interests

Studies in the Ficht lab are currently focused on 1] Use of unique biomaterials for controlled release of live and subunit vaccines. Our focus is currently directed to the production of vaccines against human Brucellosis and Q fever,but will be applied to the storage and delivery of other vaccines. A study of specific immune mechanisms and potentiation through controlled releases is underway. 2] A study of alpha crystalline structure and function.These unique proteins protect against thermal insult and modulate folding and activity of other proteins

Selected Publications

  • Arenas-Gamboa, A.M., Ficht T.A., Davis, D.S., Elzer, P.H., Wong-Gonzalez, A., and Rice-Ficht, A.C. (2009) Enhanced immune response of red deer (Cervus elaphus) to live rb51 vaccine strain using composite microspheres. J. Wildl. Dis. 45(1): 165-173.
  • Arenas-Gamboa, A.M., Ficht, T.A., Kahl-McDonagh, M.M., Gomez, G., and Rice-Ficht, A.C. (2009) The Brucella abortus S19 DeltavjbR live vaccine candidate is safer than S19 and confers protection against wild-type challenge in BALB/c mice when delivered in a sustained-release vehicle. Infect. Immun. 77(2): 877-884.
  • Arenas-Gamboa, A.M., Ficht, T.A., Kahl-McDonagh, M.M., Rice-Ficht, A.C. (2008) Immunization with a single dose of a microencapsulated Brucella melitensis mutant enhances protection against wild-type challenge. Infect. Immun. 76(6): 2448-2455.
  • Sarkar, S., Sharma, C., Yog, R., Periakaruppan, A., Jejelowo, O., Thomas, R., Barrera, E.V., Rice-Ficht, A.C., Wilson, B.L., and Ramesh, G.T. (2007) Analysis of stress responsive genes induced by single-walled carbon nanotubes in BJ Foreskin cells. J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol.;7(2): 584-592.
  • Kang, X.F., Cheley, S., Rice-Ficht, A.C., and Bayley, H. (2007) A storable encapsulated bilayer chip containing a single protein nanopore. J. Am. Chem. Soc.; 129(15): 4701-4705.
  • Berchane, N., Carson, K.H., Rice-Ficht, A.C., and Andrews, M.J. (2007) Effect of mean diameter and polydispersity of PLG microspheres on drug release experiment and theory. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 337, 118-126.

Last edited by: lemieux 11/19/2014

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