Thomas Ming Swi Chang
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Department of Physiology
Chang is credited with inventing microencapsulation, the technique that enables functional biochemical to be held inside artificial membranes so they can emulate both in-vitro and in-vivo the behaviour of some natural cells. "Artificial cells" already have many medical applications.They are used in cases of chronic renal failure, drug poisoning, liver failure, enzyme therapy and metabolic function replacement.
Chang's group is working with artificial cells filled with enzymes. They convert waste products such as ammonia and urea into the essntial amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine which also hold promise as a treatment of enzyme-deficiency diseases such as phenylketonuria (PKU) that could process the damaging phenylalanine and remove it from the system.