Armin‘s work is about the new generation of advanced biodiagnostic and therapeutic nanoparticles with low toxicity, high contrast in imaging, and capable of efficient tumor targeting. Although many of them show promising results in-vitro and through the animal studies, most of them are not successful in the clinical studies. Our self-assembled lipid nanodisc is a novel platform which can encapsulate almost any type of cancer drugs as well as imaging agents, lengthen their blood circulation half-life, deliver them into the tumor and release them based on a pre-defined release rate. Due to its shape, size, the success of our nanodisc is very promising. He has been working on encapsulating a variety of biomedical agents into the platform and he got interesting results from some of them.
Behrad‘s main focus is on studying the polymer-lipid interactions. Polymers and lipids are of great importance in the biomedical applications like drug delivery. Understanding of polymer-lipid interactions is of great importance in the success of those applications.
Amani M. Ebrahim is a PhD candidate in the Polymer Science at University of Connecticut’s Institute of Materials Science, IMS. Her research interest is in the synthesis and functionalization of biocompatible polymers for bio-sensing applications.
An increasing demand for accessible bio-sensing platforms is necessary for a high throughput screening of airborne, foodborne or waterborne diseases. Flexible and durable bio-sensing platforms can provide an inexpensive alternative to pathogen detection. Combining the properties of liposomes (vesicles) with water soluble polymers can give rise to a more sustainable, robust scaffold for pathogen detection. Our goal is to develop a robust universal platform for various species detection (toxins, pathogens, biomarkers, etc.) and to amplify signal for naked eye identification.
The goal of Sricharan‘s research is to encapsulate short segments (20-100 bp) of RNA in the lipid bilayer of nanodiscs (bicelles). Currently, he is using single-stranded DNA (as an analog of RNA) with various lipids, surfactants, and protocols to develop this platform. After stabilizing the DNA-lipid system, it can be modified for use with RNA. “Sandwiching” RNA in this way could allow for more targeted delivery of RNA to tumor cells in vivo, for applications with RNA interference and gene silencing.
Yan is interested in understanding the underlying physiochemical properties of phospholipid-based bicelles and vesicles, including their self-assembly processes and spontaneous lipid transfers. At the same time, she also extends those fundamental principles to the development of instrument-free biosensing platforms.