Department of Chemical Engineering
Telephone: 787-832-4040 ext.3749
Research Areas: Cancer, Tumor Microenvironment, Microfluidics, Nanoparticles, Biomaterials
For most cancers, pharmacological specificity and solubility of anticancer agents in blood is very low which leads to serious side effects and limit the amount of drug reaching the tumor. Nanoparticles can overcome such limitations by providing a shell that encapsulates drugs to minimize non-specific cell interactions and increase drug solubility and circulation time.The efficacy of cell-targeted magnetic nanoparticles to destroy cancer cells through the dissipation of heat and release of drugs has been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo. Local heat dissipation in MNPs has been supported in studies several studies showing that magnetic actuation could be used to control timing and drug release from iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (IO-MNPs) containing vesicles. This project consists in the development and characterization of a cell-targeted drug delivery system (DDS) with thermo-responsive properties for controlled drug release at the tumor site. Superparamagnetic IOMNP synthesized by co-precipitation method are used as the magnetic core for heat dissipation during the application of an alternating magnetic field. Blocks of bifunctional biotinylated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and poly(D,L-lactic acid) (PLA) are used as the DDS shell for controlled-release of hydrophobic drugs. Co-polymer block micelles are developed by both covalent attachment and self-assembly. Co-polymer coated IO-MNPs are evaluated for colloidal stability and drug encapsulation capability using light scattering techniques. The surface of nanoparticles is conjugated to cell-surface targeted agents to increase cell specificity. Cell toxicity and specificity are evaluated in vitro using a multi-cellular in vitro tissue model.
- Doctor of Philosophy, Biomedical Engineering, 2010, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, USA
The PI’s laboratory occupies 880 sq.ft and is located in the Chemical Engineering Building of the UPRM. It is outfitted with basic soft lithography equipment (UV light source, SU-8 spinner, hotplates, vacuum pumps, etc), DLS, GPC, Nanopure DI water system, nitrogen glove box, analytical balance, 2 centrifuges, 2 vacuum ovens, 1 lyophilizer, 5 chemical hoods, 3 4oC-refrigerators, storage cabinets for hazardous chemicals and 8 sit-down bench spaces.
Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering Laboratory (operated by Dr. Madeline Torres-Lugo)
This laboratory provides with additional cell culture facilities. The Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering Laboratory (667 sq.ft.) is located in the Chemical Engineering Building at UPRM. This laboratory contains the infrastructure to perform general laboratory functions as well as cell culture work. It is outfitted with one laminar flow hood enclosed in a class 100 room, 2 chemical hoods, gas lines (air, vacuum), 2 CO2 incubators with 48h battery backup, cryogenic nitrogen tank, 1 digital balance, deionized water system, microcentrifuge, vacuum drying oven, Olympus CKX41 inverted microscope with digital camera, 1 autoclave and 2 water baths. It also contains sit-down bench space, 2 sinks, 1 4oC refrigerator, 1 -20oC/-80oC freezer and storage cabinets for hazardous chemicals.
Bionanotechnology Laboratory (operated by Dr. Madeline Torres-Lugo)
This is a shared laboratory that occupies 630 sq.ft. and is located in the Chemical Engineering Building of the UPRM. It is outfitted with a 3i-Spinning disk fluorescent microscope (Olympus IX-81with automatic stage, computer and SlideBook software), Accuri C6 flow cytometer, Spectra Max Gemini EM spectroflurometer (96 well), UV spectrophotometer with nanocuvette, Bio-Plex 200, 2 laminar flow hoods and 3 sit-down bench spaces.