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School of Health Research

Thompson Mefford, Ph.D


Associate Professor
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences
Faculty Profile


Dr. Mefford graduate in 2003 with an honors degree in Textile and Polymer Chemistry and minor in Philosophy from Clemson University. He then attended Virginia Tech, where he earned his PhD in Macromolecular Science and Engineering in 2007. For his PhD, he worked on the development of treatments for retinal detachment using hydrophobic ferrofluids, while also working in the University of Western Australia. Before returning back to Clemson, Dr. Mefford developed methods for the fabrication and functionalization of microfluidic devices as a Post-doctoral Researcher for The Ohio State University Department of Chemistry. Mefford joined the faculty of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson in the Fall of 2008. His research focuses on developing stable, polymer-iron oxide nanoparticle complexes and composites for biomedical and energy applications. These applications include developing materials for magnetic hyperthermia, MRI contrast agents, and drug delivery systems. He is the co-organizer in the Frontiers in Magnetic Particles conference held every two years. In his free time, Dr. Mefford is found running, cycling, sailing, woodworking, gardening, and homebrewing.

How their research is transforming health care

When the biomedical application of nanotechnology is discussed, the first example is often magnetic nanoparticles. These materials can be used in imaging as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast enhancement agents and tracers in magnetic particle imaging (MPI) as well as and therapy (e.g., magnetic hyperthermia and directed drug delivery). To be successful in any of these applications, one must be able to “tune” the colloidal and magnetic properties of these materials, while having the necessary functionality and biocompatibility. The key enabler to this work is that compared to other forms of energy/radiation, magnetic fields are mainly benign to the human body. Thus, a wide range of DC and AC fields can be applied with minimal effects on the patient. Moreover, since most of this technology is based on iron oxides like magnetite, there is little concern for toxicity. Mefford’s lab is focused on the synthesis and functionality of these materials for a wide range of applications, opening the door for collaborations across the health space.

Health research keywords

Magnetic nanoparticle, magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic particle imaging, Magnetic hyperthermia, cancer therapy, drug delivery, imaging, radiology

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