Reversible Opening of the Human Blood-Brain Barrier for Drug Administration

2021-2022 Summer
Faculty Department of Project Supervisor: 
Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Number of Students: 

Drug delivery to the brain is a constant unfulfilled desire of pharmaceutical companies because the blood-brain barrier (BBB) exerts tight control over substances. Brain endothelial cells achieve this control through several mechanisms, including selective transporters, modulated receptor signaling, tight paracellular junctions (TJs), active efflux pumps, and a lower rate of paracellular transport. The protective nature of brain endothelial cells prevents more than 98% of drugs from reaching the brain. This makes treatment of many brain diseases such as tumors, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders challenging. Therefore, it is important to find minimally invasive methods to deliver drugs effectively to the brain. For this reason, we plan to study natural compounds collected from bees for their effects on BBB integrity and determine if they can be used as barrier-opening agents for drug delivery.
The PURE interns are expected to have a basic knowledge of cell culture techniques. During the PURE program, they will be trained in some wet lab techniques relevant to the project (e.g., co-culture systems, cytotoxicity assays, and qPCR).

Related Areas of Project: 
Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering

About Project Supervisors

Nur Mustafaoglu
Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Christopher Mayack
Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences