The Department of Biomedical & Chemical Engineering is pleased to welcome faculty candidate Dr. Eleftheria Michalaki from the Georgia Institute of Technology in presenting her candidate seminar: “Engineering Innovative Technologies for Lymphatic-Targeted Therapy in Disease Processes”
The lymphatic system helps maintain fluid balance in the body by draining excess interstitial fluid from tissues and depositing it into the bloodstream. Failure to establish adequate tissue drainage results in lymphedema, which is a debilitating condition with no cure and a common outcome of cancer treatment. Notably, up to 10 million Americans, and hundreds of millions worldwide, suffer from lymphedema and lymphatic diseases. In addition to lymphedema, there is increasing evidence demonstrating the important contribution of the lymphatic system to a broad spectrum of diseases ranging from obesity and cardiovascular diseases to cancer and neurological disorders. Despite the crucial role of the lymphatic system in a plethora of pathological conditions, understanding how physical forces affect lymphatic regeneration, enhancing lymphatic drainage with targeted therapy to improve lymphatic pump function, and using the lymphatic system as a therapeutic avenue have received insufficient attention. My objective is to develop innovative tools and platforms and utilize them for lymphatic-targeted therapy administration in disease processes. In this talk, I will provide examples of how these approaches are furthering both our basic understanding of lymphatic biology and providing new avenues of therapeutic intervention. Examples include: (i) the importance of the spatial and temporal wall shear stress microenvironment for transcriptional regulation of lymphatic endothelial cells, (ii) uncovering new roles for impaired lymphatic drainage in osteoarthritis and traumatic brain injury, (iii) engineered cell therapy using mesenchymal stem cells that overexpress VEGFC, a growth factor highly implicated in lymphangiogenesis, and (iv) the discovery of lymphatic-targeted lipid nanoparticles for mRNA delivery. Together, the intrinsic complexity of the lymphatic system seems to necessitate the synergy of engineering, biology, tissue mechanics, and genetic technologies towards the development of efficient lymphatic-specific therapies in vivo that will be readily available for subsequent clinical applications.
For more information, contact Prof. Zhen Ma at firstname.lastname@example.org
This event was published on January 23, 2023.
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