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Kathryn Whitehead: How can we safely deliver vaccines to the right cells?

Part 3 of TED Radio Hour episode: Special Delivery

mRNA vaccines are groundbreaking—but the mRNA inside them is fragile. Kathryn Whitehead explains how scientists have created the right "packing material" to safely deliver these to the right cells.

About Kathryn Whitehead

Kathryn Whiteheadrefers to herself as a drug delivery scientist. She is an associate professor of chemical and biomedical engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She is currently studying the fat nanoparticles that deliver mRNA vaccines to the correct parts of the body.

Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon University in 2012, she trained as a post doc at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. Whitehead received her bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

This segment of TED Radio Hour was produced by Rachel Faulkner and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Twitter @TEDRadioHour and email us at

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Manoush Zomorodi
Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Rachel Faulkner White
Rachel Faulkner is a producer and editor for TED Radio Hour.
Sanaz Meshkinpour