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    Sirianni Laboratory

    photo of brain tumor researcher rachael sirianni

    Rachael Sirianni, PhD

    Laboratory Focus

    The failure of pharmaceutical agents to treat disease in the central nervous system (CNS) is often due to inability to achieve therapeutic concentrations of drug in the target tissue. Few systemically delivered drugs will cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), and drugs that have been directly delivered to the brain are subject to a variety of transport forces that serve to restrict tissue treatment volume. These barriers to effective drug delivery become particularly important when treating brain tumors, since malignant cells invade healthy brain, beyond where the primary tumor can be surgically resected.

    One strategy to improve the effectiveness of drugs in the CNS is to encapsulate the active agent within solid nanoparticles or to conjugate drugs directly to a polymer. The primary function of these polymer nanocarriers is to protect the drug from clearance, binding, and degradation, thus permitting controlled release of the active agent and enhancing its residence time in tissue. An advantage of using polymer constructs to deliver drugs is the ease with which specific functionalities can be incorporated into the drug delivery vector to enhance tumor specificity, improve cellular uptake, or enhance delivery across biological barriers, such as the BBB.

    The primary goal of our group is to engineer multifunctional nanocarriers for targeted treatment and imaging of CNS disease, with a focus on developing technologies that have the potential for clinical translation. We are working on the following projects in the fields of bioengineering and drug delivery:

    1. Engineering drug-loaded nanoparticles to target drug activity to the CNS
    2. Improved methods for tracking nanoparticle distribution in the body
    3. Tissue engineered scaffolds for study how microenvironment drives malignancy

    Open Positions

    Our lab is seeking a postdoctoral fellow to join our laboratory. Expertise in one or more of the following areas is suitable: polymeric or targeted drug delivery, biomaterials, convection-enhanced delivery, blood-brain barrier physiology, gene therapy, and molecular imaging. Experience with molecular biology or in vivo models of CNS disease is preferred but not necessary. Interested candidates should send a cover letter (including a summary of research interests), curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information for three references to [email protected]. NOTE: Applicants must also complete the online application.

    We are also actively recruiting graduate and undergraduate students!

    Contact Information
    Rachael W. Sirianni, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Laboratory for Nanomedicine
    [email protected]
    (602) 406-4493

    About Barrow

    Since our doors opened as a regional specialty center in 1962, we have grown into one of the premier destinations in the world for neurology and neurosurgery. Our experienced, highly skilled, and comprehensive team of neurological specialists can provide you with a complete spectrum of care–from diagnosis through outpatient neurorehabilitation–under one roof. Barrow Neurological Institute: Discover. Educate. Heal.