Caryn Heldt

Caryn Heldt


Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

  • PhD, North Carolina State University


My research group uses natural and artificial molecular recognition to improve human health. This work includes discovering small peptides or chemicals that bind specifically to proteins and engineering devices that utilize the binding property.

Virus Removal and Detection 

A biotherapeutic is any product that is made to improve human health and comes from a biological source, including human blood plasma, cell culture or bacterial fermentation. The sources of these products are living organisms so there is an inherent risk that these products may contain viruses that could infect patients receiving the therapy. The inactivation of enveloped viruses works well with little known contamination, but the breakthrough and contamination of biological products by nonenveloped viruses has been demonstrated. This reveals the need to find better removal techniques for nonenveloped viruses. I am interested in finding methods to improve the removal of nonenveloped viruses from biotherapeutics using precipitation, filtration and affinity techniques.

Therapeutic Targets for Amyloid Disease Progression 

Many diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and type II diabetes involve the aggregation of small peptides that are naturally found in the body into fibrils and plaques, and are classified as amyloid diseases. It is currently hypothesized that small oligomers of the plaque forming peptides may be the toxic species. Yet it is difficult to isolate these oligomers to determine how they form and to determine their toxicity to cells in vitro or in vivo. I am characterizing the formation of toxic oligomers using biophysical techniques and then will slow or stop the formation of oligomers using small peptides and chemical molecules.

Links of Interest

Research Interests

  • Bioseparations
  • Virus removal and detection
  • Biosensors


  • Heldt, C.L., Zhang, S., and Belfort, G. “Asymmetric Amyloid Fibril Elongation: A New Perspective on a Symmetric World”. (2010) Proteins, Accepted.
  • Heldt, C.L., Sorci, M., Posada, D., Hirsa, A., and Belfort, G. “Detection and removal of microaggregates in insulin preparations”. (2010) Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Accepted.
  • Heldt, C.L., Gurgel, P.V., Jaykus, L. and Carbonell, R.G. “Influence of trimeric peptide surface density and ethylene oxide spacer arm on the capture of porcine parvovirus”. (2009) Biotechnology Progress 25(5), 1411-1418.
  • Heldt, C.L., Gurgel, P.V., Jaykus, L. and Carbonell, R.G. “Identification of trimeric peptides that bind porcine parvovirus from mixtures containing human blood plasma” (2008). Biotechnology Progress 24, 554-560.
  • Heldt, C. L., Hernandez, R., Mudiganti, U., Gurgel, P. V., Brown, D. T., and Carbonell, R. G. “A colorimetric assay for viral agents that produce cytopathic effects” (2006). Journal of Virological Methods 135, 56-65.