Exploiting the Body’s Barriers for Nanomedicine Targeting

Date(s) - 11/30/2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Virtual via Zoom

Eun Ji Chung, Ph.D., Dr. Karl Jacob Jr. and Karl Jacob III Early Career Chair and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California 

Zoom Link

Eun Ji Chung, Ph.D.

Natural, physiological processes in the body can act as barriers to effective nanoparticle delivery. In this seminar, I will discuss the unique advantages of small, organic micelles and their ability to harness such barriers for the detection and targeted delivery of therapeutics to diseases including cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease. For chronic kidney disease, while small molecule drugs have been proposed as a therapy to manage disease progression, repeated, high dosages are often required to achieve therapeutic efficacy, generating off-target side effects, some of which are lethal. To address these limitations, our lab has designed a kidney-targeting micelle (KM) platform toward drug delivery applications. Specifically, KMs were found to cross the glomerular filtration barrier and bind to specific surface markers present on renal tubule cells. In vivo, KMs were found to be biocompatible and showed higher accumulation in kidneys compared to nontargeted controls in vivo. We provide proof-of-concept studies for their utility in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease nanotherapy and their application using various routes of administration including oral and transdermal administration. We discuss the promise of nanomedicine, the tailored design necessary to match such promise, and their potential as next generation platforms for personalized medicine. Development of nanomicelles that can protect and deliver nucleic acid therapies to inhibit transformation into pathogenic cell types in cardiovascular disease will also be discussed.

Eun Ji Chung is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California and the Dr. Karl Jacob Jr. and Karl Jacob III Early Career Chair. She has a courtesy appointment in Chemical Engineering, Medicine (Nephrology and Hypertension), and Surgery (Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Repair), and is an affiliated faculty at the Norris Cancer Center and the Stem Cells department. Her laboratory is interested in harnessing molecular design and self-assembly to develop nano- to macroscale biomaterials that can be utilized in medicine. Dr. Chung received her B.A. with honors in Molecular Biology from Scripps College, her Ph.D. from the Department of Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, and her postdoctoral training from the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. Dr. Chung is a recipient of the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award (2014) and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2, 2018), and was named 35 Under 35 from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2017), an Emerging Investigator in Biomaterials Science (2017), Young Innovator in Nanobiotechnology from Nano Research (2018), Emerging Investigator from the Journal of Materials Chemistry B (2019), New Innovator from IEEE-Nanomed (2019), Rising Star in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering as well as the Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering from BMES (2020). She also received the USC faculty mentoring award for undergraduates in 2018. Dr. Chung is an Associate Editor for the journals Bioactive Materials and Frontiers in Digital Health and Health Technologies.