HomeAbout UsStoriesThe Science Behind mRNA and Delivery ShuttlesAditi Mehta: The People Behind mRNA and Delivery Shuttles

Aditi Mehta: The People Behind mRNA and Delivery Shuttles

To optimize the process of creating custom mRNA and lipid nanoparticles Mehta asks some “out there” questions.

Aditi wears PPE and uses a pipette to extract a solution in the lab.

September 22, 2023 | 2 min

Aditi Mehta, head of mRNA process and delivery, has always needed to understand how things work. She acknowledges that, sometimes, that includes tackling slightly annoying questions. She doesn’t shy away from questions or perspectives that might seem “out there.” 

“By asking what seem like naïve questions — like wondering how or why something happens — you can think up some big ideas. Some may turn out to be ‘dumb,’ but you also get some really good insights,” she says. “Then, from these ideas, together, we usually come up with solutions that are unique and often quite useful." 

As the interest and promise of mRNA continues to rise rapidly, there’s still a lot of work to do on optimizing how custom mRNA is created and, ultimately, delivered to patients. That’s where Mehta’s team comes in. The R&D team splits its efforts into two key areas: mRNA production and mRNA delivery. 

Some scientists focus on making mRNA production more sustainable, affordable and efficient, all while keeping product quality high. Their efforts span across scales — from small batches in the lab to large-scale production. 

Another group of researchers focuses on mRNA delivery, including coming up with new ingredients that increase efficiency and safety. Lipids are a critical component in mRNA therapeutics and the research team is constantly creating novel lipids with distinct functions. They create new lipid libraries that other teams — including the Early Formulation Screening Service team — can leverage when working to design LNPs for customers. 

Working at the very edge of what’s known is tough. There are certainly days and weeks of incremental progress. Mehta recognizes that and, in part, it’s why she celebrates even seemingly small milestones with her team. “We work so hard, and I think celebrating when you succeed is important,” she says.  

More people behind mRNA and delivery shuttles

 Eleni Samaridou stands in the lab wearing a lab coat, gloves and glasses.
Meet Eleni Samaridou

Before custom LNPs are finalized, there are numerous LNPs that don’t make the cut.

Haag Lab
Meet Tobias Haag

Before there are LNPs, there are individual lipids.

Karwa lab tile
Meet Mahesh Karwa

Before there are large quantities of mRNA vaccines or therapeutics, there are very small quantities.

Lang looks at camera while working in the lab.
Meet Kahina Lang

Before the time from idea to final RNA therapeutic or vaccine can shrink, scientists need to formulate viable LNPs.

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