The Center for Bioactive Delivery (CBD) at UMass Amherst is advancing the field to a predictive science-a fundamental break from its empirical, single application roots. Our teams are developing fundamental carrier design principles that integrate an understanding of the bioactives from the onset and applying them to various disease models. The long-term objective is to develop reliable, predictive models for optimized drug/carrier systems. This focus on synergies between the bioactive compound and its delivery needs to a suitable carrier solution creates a new paradigm for drug and nutrient delivery.

Drug and nutraceutical delivery is a multi-dimensional challenge that remains a critical and often unsolved issue in product development. At the heart of the center are organized multi-disciplinary teams focused on solutions to this complex landscape.

The inability to optimize drug candidates’ targeting and release, along with pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, tissue distribution, administration, has been a major cause of low success rates among compounds with demonstrated on-target activity. These challenges have increased with the advent of new classes of complex therapeutic biomolecules such as nucleic acids, and the need for more precise targeting and release, not only to disease cells but to subcellular sites.

Similarly, advances in understanding the role of nutrients and the microbiome in maintaining health and preventing disease, coupled with the emergence of new nutritional product categories has created new opportunities for enhanced nutrient delivery.

The UMass faculty is transforming the field by combining deep experience with

  • Multiple novel and traditional carrier platforms,
  • Integrating robust analytical sciences and biology,
  • Understanding fundamental relationships between biophysical dynamics and empirical properties,
  • Accelerating Industry collaboration on specific bioactive delivery challenges.

CBD integrates nearly 40 UMass Amherst faculty with expertise in polymer science, nanotechnology, chemistry, food science, and immunology. CBD further leverages strong ties with UMass Medical School and others to achieve its goals. UMass’ scientists have generated more than 400 publications bioactive delivery field during the past five years and many industry collaborations.


Drawing on over two decades of polymer science, biological and engineering research at UMass Amherst, the Center for Bioactive Delivery (CBD) was established in 2013 to advance translational research at UMass and support life sciences driven economic development. The Center is one of three supported with more than $150 million in capital investments to date by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and UMass Amherst as part of the school’s new Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS).

CBD Leadership

  • S. Thai Thayumanavan, Chemistry, BME, Director
  • D. Joseph Jerry, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Associate Director

CBD Steering Committee

  • Eric Decker, Food Science
  • Todd Emrick, Polymer Science & Engineering
  • Neil Forbes, Chemical Engineering
  • D. Julian McClements, Food Science
  • David Moorman, Psychological & Brain Sciences
  • Barbara Osborne, Veterinary and Animal Sciences
  • Sarah Perry, Chemical Engineering
  • Peter Reinhart, IALS
  • Vince Rotello, Chemistry
  • Gregory Tew, Polymer Science & Engineering
  • S. Thai Thayumanavan, Chemistry