The ability to deliver active reagents in a controlled manner is an important therapeutic challenge. We develop unique bolistic delivery systems which enable us to introduce micro and nano carriers, loaded with cargo, into tissues for gene expression manipulations and drug delivery. Our systems allow us to deliver particles with precision and without damaging the target tissue. We use several types of carriers such as gold particles, MNPs and porous… Read More »CONTROLLED DRUG DELIVERY AND BIOLISTIC TARGETING
We also focus on theoretical work and modeling in some of our projects. We investigate the connection between the neuronal tree structure and electrical activity by studying signal propagation and information coding along two basic morphological building blocks, i.e. axonal segments and axonal branching points. The aforementioned connection is investigated by solving numerically for the Hodgkin-Huxley model, as well as implementing other previously adapted models which serve as better representations… Read More »NEURONAL ACTIVITY AND MORPHOLOGY – SIMULATION WORK
A key mechanism in neuronal guidance is the ability of the sensory-motile growth cones at the tips of growing processes to measure environmental cues and use them for growth. We use modified 2D substrates as a method for affecting neuronal growth. We focus on signaling cues at the nanometric scale, similar to the scale of cytoskeletal elements in cells. Cues are fabricated by embedding nanoparticles, photolithography patterning, decoration of electrospun… Read More »2D ENGINEERED PLATFORMS FOR STUDYING NEURONAL INTERFACES AND GUIDANCE
In-vivo, neurons grow and develop in a 3D extracellular matrix (ECM). In order to mimic the natural environment of neurons, in bio-material and spatial arrangement, we develop 3D hydrogels for optimal neuronal growth. By controlling the external and internal structures of the gels, i.e. aligning the fibers as topographical cues, we optimize growth and direct regeneration. Specifically, we combine magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) within potentially-injectable collagen hydrogels and, by applying an… Read More »3D PLATFORMS OPTIMIZING NEURONAL REGENERATION
We study nerve cord regeneration of a simple model organism, the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis. Using this model, we target specific identified single neurons, record their activity and label them for morphological analysis. Our breeding colony allows us to study mechanosensory innervation in embryogenesis development via the axon guidance regulator Netrin and its receptors. We analyze the spontaneous repair process of the CNS, post-injury (cut), in adult leeches. We are… Read More »NERVOUS SYSTEM REPAIR OF SIMPLE MODELS
Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) exhibit superparamagnetic properties and therefore they serve as a beneficial tool for imaging and activation using external magnetic fields. By incorporating MNPs into drug carriers and cells, we allow the external magnetic field gradients to remotely-guide the magnetic complex to specific sites. We develop magnet-based devices and platforms, which magnetically direct drugs and engineered cells to desired sites, with the aim of improving upon various biomedical applications.