Monday, June 12, 2017

URSP Student Kaitlyn Scott Researches How to Optimize Physicochemical Properties of Patchy Particles for Cancer Therapeutics and Imaging

Hi, I am Kaitlyn Scott, a senior Bioengineering student. My research project aims to optimize the therapeutic and imaging performance of Polymeric Patchy Particles (PPPs) by assessing in
vitro their efficacy and toxicity, and to validate Computational Fluid Dynamic simulation (CFD) results. Use of PPPs can advance cancer theranostics by reducing the multidrug resistance phenomenon. From their photoacoustic signal physicians will benefit by being able to visualize and monitor the drug distribution in cancer cells and make decisions to continue, adjust, or change treatment based on the real-time image capability. Furthermore, CFD from this research project will provide information on particle synthesis and help control the self-assembly process to speed up the clinical development of PPPs.

I began working as an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of nanotechnology at George Mason after I became inspired by my Nanotechnology in Health Professor, Dr. Carolina Salvador-Morales.  I was intrigued by the kind of work done in her lab and how something smaller than the tip of a single strand of hair could be engineered to combat disease, such as cancer. I’ve learned a great deal under the mentorship of Dr. Salvador-Morales that will carry over into my future career. She encourages me to be creative when approaching problems at the molecular level and to look to nature to inspire us.

This project has shown me that the smallest thing can make the biggest impact. I’ve learned about the obstacles that a drug delivery system needs to overcome before clinical trials can begin. On a weekly basis I am doing bench work at the lab synthesizing polymeric nanoparticles for use in cancer theranostics. I also attend weekly meetings to keep up to date with other projects that are ongoing in the nanotechnology lab.