Rafal Fudala, Ph.D
Professor and Director
Dr. Fudala received a Masters degree in Clinical Biochemistry (1999; major B-Cell Leukemia) from the University of Lodz, Poland and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at the same University (2004; Urinary Tract Infection). Dr. Fudala joined the laboratory at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, which specialized in studying host reactions to various injuries, including acute lung injuries/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS) for his first post-doctoral training appointment (2004-2010). For his second post-doctoral training appointment (2010-2012), Dr. Fudala joined the laboratory within the Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology at University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) where he was engaged in developing new fluorescence, plasmonics, and nanotechnology techniques in biomedical applications. Currently Dr. Rafal Fudala holds the position of Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics in The Graduate School of Biomedical Science, University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Dr. Fudala attained success as a researcher, having published more than 70 peer-reviewed publications as well as advised several PhD students. Over the last 10 years, he has worked in the field of fluorescence and probe development. Dr. Fudala is using fluorescence-based methods such as laser confocal microscopy, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM), fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and cellular imaging, as well as polarization-based techniques in his current, ongoing studies. Recently, his interests have expanded to include fluorescence-based methods in molecular and cellular imaging, as well as biochemical/biophysical applications of new nanophotonics processes in the biomedical and diagnostic fields’ especially to develop rHDL based delivery systems to cure several cancers.
Andras Lacko, Ph.D
Professor and Principal Investigator
As a member of the Institute for Cancer Research, Dr. Andras Lacko is involved in developing a delivery system for anti-cancer drugs that will effectively kill cancer cells and tumors while protecting normal tissue. He is currently working with Dr. Anil Sood of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Dr. Alan Remaley of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to advance this project toward clinical/human applications.
Over the past four decades, Dr. Lacko has served on the international editorial review boards/study sections of more than 30 professional biochemical, medical, physiology and drug-delivery journals. He is widely published and has received numerous grants and contracts, mostly focused on enzyme structure and function and plasma lipoprotein metabolism. Dr. Lacko is a member of several professional societies, including the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Heart Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He enjoys serving the community through volunteer work for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Concerts in the Garden and The American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
Nirupama Sabnis, Ph.D
Senior Research Specialist
Dr. Sabnis has been associated with Drug Delivery Lab for past 8 years. She is mainly involved in developing new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of different types of cancers that include Ewing Sarcoma, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Her major approach includes preparing different hydrophobic and hydrophilic drug incorporation in HDL and HDL mimicking nanoparticles to synthesize stable, non-leaky nanoparticle formulations for targeted delivery to tumors. She has successfully demonstrated that drug delivery of HDL type nanoparticles takes place via HDL receptors (SR-B1) and this approach can minimize the off-target toxicity observed by conventional chemotherapy in cancer patients. She is actively involved with training graduate, undergraduate and medical students in the collaborative projects to facilitate the bench research to the clinic.
Bhavani Nagarajan, M.S
Bhavani Nagarajan is an academic researcher, with dual Master’s degrees in Biomedical Sciences and Biopharmaceutical Technology. She joined the Lipoprotein Drug Delivery lab. in 2016 as a Research Assistant and has been working on optimizing rHDL nanoparticles for the targeted delivery of drugs and nucleotides, including siRNA, mRNA, pDNA and anti-sense oligonucleotides. The nanoparticles were assessed for therapeutic efficacy toward a number of cancers including ovarian and Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Besides cancer targeted delivery, she is currently engaged in exploring the potential of rHDL nanoparticles for delivering RNAi to the brain for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). While obtaining her MSc. Degree at UNTHSC and subsequently as a staff member of the Lipoprotein Drug Delivery Lab., she has gained experience in microfluidics , purification and characterization of biocompatible nanoparticles using state of the art technologies, including Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC).
Akpedje (Serena) Dossou, B.S, M.S
Currently a pre-doctoral trainee, my research focuses on understanding tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) metabolism and ways to target TAMs as anticancer therapy strategy. TAMs constitute an important part of the immune landscape of the tumor microenvironment, and studies spanning the past decades have demonstrated that TAMs are “educated” by cancer cells to an immunosuppressive M2 –like phenotype that promotes tumor growth, drug resistance, and metastasis. Lipid metabolism is an important driver of the plastic macrophage phenotype, and surface marker expression profile suggest that TAMs could be targeted by reconstituted high-density lipoprotein nanoparticles. Identifying key metabolic switches for macrophage phenotype can give rise to additional targeting strategies to induce their reversal to an immune-activating, anti-tumoral M1-like phenotype.