Rachael Sirianni, PhD
The failure of pharmaceutical agents to treat disease in the central nervous system (CNS) is often due to inability to achieve therapeutic concentrations of drug in the target tissue. Few systemically delivered drugs will cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), and drugs that have been directly delivered to the brain are subject to a variety of transport forces that serve to restrict tissue treatment volume. This issue is particularly important when treating brain tumors, where surgical resection often fails to reach cancerous cells beyond the primary tumor mass.
One strategy to improve the effectiveness of drugs in the CNS is to encapsulate the active agent within solid nanoparticles or to conjugate drugs directly to a polymer. The primary function of these polymer nanocarriers is to protect the drug from clearance, binding, and degradation, thus permitting controlled release of the active agent and enhancing its residence time in tissue. An advantage of using polymer constructs to deliver drugs is the ease with which specific functionalities can be incorporated into the drug delivery vector to enhance tumor specificity, improve cellular uptake, or promote passage through the BBB.
The primary goal of our group is to engineer multifunctional nanocarriers for targeted treatment and imaging of brain tumors, with a focus on developing technologies that have the potential for clinical translation. We are working on the following projects in the fields of bioengineering and drug delivery:
- High throughput methods for the identification of targeting ligands to promote tumor specificity and blood-brain barrier passage
- Imaging strategies for tracking synthetic and biological nanocarriers
- Tissue engineering approaches to study signaling gradients and tumor cell migration and proliferation
Our lab is seeking a postdoctoral fellow to join our laboratory. Expertise in one or more of the following areas is suitable: polymeric or targeted drug delivery, biomaterials, convection-enhanced delivery, blood-brain barrier physiology, gene therapy, and molecular imaging. Experience with molecular biology or in vivo models of CNS disease is preferred but not necessary. Interested candidates should send a cover letter (including a summary of research interests), curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information for three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. NOTE: Applicants must also complete the online application.
We are also actively recruiting graduate and undergraduate students!
Rachael W. Sirianni, PhD
Laboratory for Nanomedicine