Saturday, July 6, 2019

URSP Charlotte Nigg Researches Mitochondrial Targeted Liposomal Nano-Particle Drug Delivery in IPF

My initial interest in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, an interstitial lung disease, began with my experience with my daughter’s asthma. Maintaining optimal lung function and receiving a diagnosis at a young age was a complicated and difficult venture. When the opportunity arose for me to learn at Dr. Grant’s lab who specialized in IPF, I was very excited and eager to start my journey into lung research and drug delivery. This semester I have been working on the creation and optimization of a liposomal Nano-particle with a specialized cationic tag, which is a molecule carrying a positive charge.  I am testing the efficiency of the this positively charged molecule and its attraction to the hyperpolarized negative mitochondria found within a diseased IPF cell. The goal is to create a more efficient drug delivery system that will improve the patient’s outcomes and side effects.

Each week I perform tasks according to the research timeline my mentor, Professor Sarah Bui, set for me at the beginning of the semester. This has included creating a nanoparticle and encapsulating drugs, introducing the nanoparticles to tissue cell cultures, and analyzing the data from the cell cultures. A considerable part of the project has been spent troubleshooting the Nano-particle drug delivery system. This includes changing the concentration of drugs encapsulated and the method for Nano-particle synthesis.
Participating in the OSCAR semester has been a very challenging and rewarding venture. Understanding how to create and implement an effective experiment and conduct research is an invaluable skill. OSCAR gave me the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate which I can then use towards a graduate degree or a job in industry.