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In Person Lecture: Sticky Nanoparticles for Health and Healing

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Paula T. Hammond, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Head
Department of Chemical Engineering
Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Member, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, and National Academy of Engineering

Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture: Sticky Nanoparticles for Health and Healing

Date: April 27, 2023

Time: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.  (Reception and hors d'oeuvres at 5 p.m.)

About this Seminar

Polyelectrolytes have unique properties that make them advantageous for the design of nanomaterials for drug delivery. These polymers are water-soluble, have a large number of easily modified reactive side chains for attachment of ligands, and can exhibit charge that can be designed to be sensitive to physiological conditions such as pH, redox conditions or the presence of specific enzymes. This capability makes charge a very enabling tool in the targeting of nanomaterials to specific tissues, as well as in adapting the transport of nanoparticles through typically charged and dense tissue matrices consisting largely of proteoglycans, polysaccharides or other biomolecular networks. In each case in which charge is an enabling factor for penetration in an oppositely charged matrix, there is also a complementary requirement to modulate the charge to enable interaction while affording effective diffusion and transport within tissues and organs. Examples include the use of charged polyamidoamine dendrimers for the penetration of drug into cartilage, and the use of polyethylene oxide shielding groups to modify the amount of charge exposed. Systematic studies reveal a critical parameter space within which we must balance these properties while maintaining biocompatibility of the nanocarrier, and a means of defining the effective charge in such shielded systems. Dr. Hammond and her lab have developed a modular nanoparticle approach using core particles and layering them with an electrostatic layer-by-layer (LBL) process in a simple and elegant method of constructing highly tailored ultrathin polymer coatings. The resulting LbL nanoparticles (LbL NPs) have negatively charged outer layers that present polyelectrolytes such as dextran sulfate or hyaluronic acid in a hydrated brush arrangement that enables hydration, steric repulsion, colloidal and serum stability, and specific or non-specific targeting. Ultimately, it is also important to introduce other kinds of interactions, particularly when targeting specific cells such as immune or cancer cells; often these interactions include receptor-specific interactions, but non-specific interactions can also have a very significant role in directing particles to cancer or other disease-associated cell types.

Additional Details

This is a free event hosted by Dr. Michael Friedlander and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. For more information, please call 540-526-2059.

About Maury Strauss

Maury Strauss is a longtime community benefactor and businessman who supports biomedical research with the goal of energizing the local economy and improving quality of life in our neighborhoods and around the world. In order to ensure the continued success of Roanoke’s biomedical research enterprise, as well as the free public seminars, Mr. Strauss has made a generous gift to the series. Read More.

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