CaNCURE Mentors

Jon C Aster, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

Our lab studies the oncogenic role of Notch signaling in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and other cancers in order to identify small molecules that act synergistically with Notch pathway inhibitors. Students will have the opportunity to study nanoparticle-based formulations of these inhibitors for improved anti-cancer therapy.
Keywords: Leukemia, Lymphoma, mutations, small molecule inhibitors

Ross I Berbeco, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School

Our lab performs theoretical and experimental studies of systemically administered nanoparticles and their role in enhancing radiation therapy for cancer treatment. Students will have the opportunity to functionalize these particles with tumor-specific targeting moieties and study how this leads to localized disruption of the tumor vasculature.
Keywords: cancer, nanoparticles, gold, radiation

Peter Caravan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in Radiology, Harvard Medical School

My research broadly encompasses the design, synthesis, and application of molecular and nanoparticle-based imaging probes for detecting disease and monitoring treatment response. Students will help develop and study magnetic resonance, computed tomography, or positron emitting probes for imaging cancer.
Keywords: imaging, contrast agents, MRI, hypoxia

Rebecca Carrier, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University

Our lab seeks to design nanoemulsions to improve the delivery of hydrophobic chemo-therapeutic agents with minimal side effects. Students will work to gain a quantitative understanding of how properties of a given drug, lipid and surfactant, formulated in a specific way, can interact with the biological environment to facilitate drug release and absorption.
Keywords: drug delivery, nanoparticles, computational modeling, transport phenomena

Cesar Martin Castro, M.D.

Instructor in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Our research seeks to bridge current needs in clinical oncology with novel nanosensing technologies to selectively detect and profile cancer cells and tissues. Students will examine the feasibility of using magneto-DNA nanoparticles to characterize rare cancer cells in unpurified human clinical samples including ascites and blood.
Keywords: biosensing, circulating tumor cells, molecular profiling, cancer biomarkers

Ciprian Catana, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in Radiology , Harvard Medical School

Our laboratory seeks to improve the quantification of the PET data using the simultaneously acquired MR information in integrated MR-PET scanners. Students will have the opportunity to use advanced MR-PET methods to study the delivery, mechanism of action and effects of therapeutic agents in cancer patients.
Keywords: Imaging, instrumentation, MR-PET, brain tumors

Robert A Cormack, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School

Our lab has shown that nanoparticles can enhance the effects of radiation therapy, thereby potentially improving patient outcomes. Students in this research group will explore ways to improve brachytherapy by developing new nanoparticle-based devices to enable minimally invasive means of delivering chemotherapeutic agents directly to tumors.
Keywords: prostate cancer, radiation, nanoparticles, drug delivery

James A DeCaprio, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Using targeted mouse models, our lab studies host cell proteins that interact with polyoma virus oncoproteins. Students will study host perturbations following the systemic administration of synthetic viral nano-complexes in order to identify novel tumor suppressors and oncogenes in Merkel cell carcinoma.
Keywords: viruses, merkel cell carcinoma, retinoblastoma, gene expression

Daniela Dinulescu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

The Dinulescu laboratory focuses on the biology of ovarian cancer and endometriosis, with a strong interest in cancer genomics and proteomics, rational drug design and targeted therapies, methods of early detection, and cancer prevention. Students will work on developing “homing” nanoparticles that selectively target and sensitize ovarian cancer cells to chemotherapy.
Keywords: ovarian cancer, cancer biology, mouse models, drug resistance

Georges El Fakhri, Ph.D.

Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School

The El Fakhri lab has pioneered novel approaches for quantitative SPECT and PET, and the objective assessment of oncologic images. Students will use quantitative methods to characterize and optimize the analysis of experimental nanoparticle-based imaging agents used in vivo.
Keywords: imaging, image analysis, therapeutic monitoring, pharmacokinetic modeling

Omid Farokhzad, M.D.

Associate Professor of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School

The Farokhzad group has pioneered the use of high-throughput self-assembly methods to develop novel nanomedicines. Students will focus on the design of a nanoparticle system with simultaneous diagnostic and imaging capabilities in order to help locate prostate cancer cells and study their specific characteristics.
Keywords: nanoparticles, drug delivery, high throughput screening, vaccines

Rajiv Gupta, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Radiologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Our lab is developing a prototype CT system, based on X-ray phases, which we expect to enable the visualization of normal and cancerous soft tissues in unprecedented detail. Students will parallel this effort by aiding in the development and optimization of tumor-targeted nanoparticles as CT contrast agents.
Keywords: Imaging, computed tomography, instrumentation

William Hahn, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

We have a longstanding interest in cooperative genetic alterations that program malignant transformation and has developed many experimental model systems to study specific genetic alterations. Students will use therapeutic tumor-penetrating siRNA nanocomplexes to identify, validate, and understand potential therapeutic cancer.
Keywords: genomics, epithelial cancer, siRNA, cancer biology

William S Hancock, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry, Northeastern University

Our lab is focused on advanced protein characterization methods for the study of cancer mechanisms and discovery of potential therapeutic agents. Students will use a nanoLC/MS coupled to a LTQ-Orbitrap to identify glycoprotein biomarkers and protein therapeutics.
Keywords: analytical chemistry, protein chemistry, proteomics, human proteome mapping

Robert N Hanson, Ph.D.

Matthews Distinguished University Professor, Northeastern University

Our lab develops targeting strategies for highly specific delivery of nanoparticle- and molecule-based therapeutics to breast and prostate cancer. Students will study the selectivity of self-assembled polymeric nanoparticles to tumor cells by using a multimeric peptidomimetic nanoplatform comprised of tumor cell-specific amino acids.
Keywords: targeted drug delivery, nanomedicinal chemistry, radiotracers

Mukesh Harisinghani, M.D.

Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School

We develop magnetic nanoparticle-based platforms for use as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents in cancer diagnosis. Students will have the opportunity to study nanoparticle-enhanced MRI data from clinical trials in order to improve the detection of lymph node metastases.
Keywords: MRI, cancer detection and staging, prostate cancer, magnetic nanoparticles

Tayyaba Hasan, Ph.D.

Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School

Our group has extensive expertise in the photodynamic therapy of cancer, infections, and infectious disease, as well as targeted drug delivery using site-directed photochemistry. Students will participate in the design and testing of photoactivatable nanoparticles for the treatment of ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, or head and neck cancer.
Keywords: photodynamic therapy, imaging, nanoparticles

Darrel J Irvine, Ph.D.

Professor of Materials Science & Engineering , Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Our laboratory has had a long-standing interest in use of engineered materials for enhancing cancer immunotherapy. Students will study how nanoparticle-based vaccines can control where and how cells of the immune system respond to tumor cells, with the goal of overcoming immunosuppression in solid tumors.
Keywords: immunotherapy, vaccines, nanoparticles, biomaterials

Jeffrey M Karp, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

The Karp lab has developed biocompatible polymer-based biomaterials with strongly adhesive nano-texture that have the ability to conform to irregular-shaped surfaces. Students will study self-assembled hydrogels loaded with pro-drug as a controlled delivery system for treatment of brain tumors.
Keywords: stem cells, biomaterials, drug delivery, devices

G Mike Makrigiorgos, Ph.D.

Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School

We apply nanoparticle-based approaches for DNA molecular diagnostics, PCR-based detection of DNA alterations, as well as the enrichment and identification of cancer biomarkers from blood-circulating DNA/RNA. We also combine site-specific image-guided irradiation with nanoparticle based approaches for enhancing detection of circulating biomarkers via ‘liquid biopsy’.
Keywords: molecular profiling, PCR, sequencing, circulating cancer biomarkers, early detection, radiation

Zdravka Medarova, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in Radiology, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging

The focus of my research has been the development and testing of multi-functional imaging/delivery vehicles for combined cancer imaging and therapy. More recently, our lab developed magnetic nanoparticles as delivery vehicles of miRNA-targeted therapy to breast tumors.
Keywords: genetics, cancer biology, molecular imaging

Anna Moore, Ph.D.

Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Our research deals with non-invasive imaging of molecular targets in cancer. Students with have the opportunity to explore the use of targeted multimodal nanoparticles for imaging of tumor growth, metastasis, and treatment.
Keywords: contrast agents, molecular imaging, MRI, metastasis

Wilfred Ngwa, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, Brigham And Women's Hospital

My work integrates research, clinical service, and teaching in Radiation Oncology, with current focus on developing smart biomaterials (Tiny drones to Target cancer) designed to boost local and metastatic tumor cell kill with minimal collateral damage or side effects.
Keywords: Condensed Matter Physics, Biophysics, Medical Physics

John Quackenbush, Ph.D.

Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Our group collects and analyzes cancer genomic data, integrating it with multiple types of ‘omic data, including miRNA and mRNA expression in order to build predictive systems biology models. Students will help develop a model describing cancer response to nanoparticle-based drug treatments.
Keywords: computational biology, genomics, gene expression, bioinformatics

Jinjun Shi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Anaesthesia, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

He has extensive experience in the research fields of nanomedicine and biomaterials, and has developed many multifunctional nanoparticle platforms for the delivery of therapeutic small molecules, proteins and nucleic acids.
Keywords: nanotechnology, biomaterials, drug delivery, Immunotherapy

Michail Sitkovsky, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of Immunophysiology and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Northeastern University

A nanotechnology-based approach has been developed by this group to deliver co-adjuvants in a novel immunotherapy of cancer. Students will study how anti-tumor CD8 T-cells, modified with polymeric nanoparticles containing the A2A receptor antagonist and/or T cell-activating cytokine, increase local concentration of drugs in the tumor micro-environment.
Keywords: immunotherapy, hypoxia, drug delivery

Bryan Spring, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Northeastern University

The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce cancer recurrence and mortality by establishing new approaches for personalized medicine that address tumor heterogeneity, drug-resistance and molecular mechanisms of treatment escape. Advanced-stage cancer patients are presently subjected to a grueling treatment regimen consisting of surgical tumor debulking and high-dose-intensity chemotherapy. These standard approaches frequently hit a wall due to dose-limiting toxicities as well as mechanisms of drug-resistance and treatment escape via cell signaling networks.
Keywords: biophysics, biomedical optics, cancer biology

Srinivas Sridhar, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics, BioEng, & ChemEng, Northeastern University

Our lab specializes in the development of nanoplatforms for cancer drug delivery and multi-modal contrast agents for simultaneous clinical imaging. Students will explore how multifunctional nanoparticles can offer potential benefits in wide range of applications such as in sensing, diagnostics, drug delivery, and image enhancement.
Keywords: Nanoparticles, drug delivery, multi-modal contrast agents, inhibitors

Annick D. van den Abbeele, M.D.

Chief of Radiology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

A major goal of our research laboratory is to use anatomic & functional imaging in pre-clinical and clinical settings as a noninvasive whole-body tool to evaluate novel cancer therapies. Students will participate in the study design, image analysis and interpretation of pre-clinical and patient data that support the development of novel therapies in cancer.
Keywords: molecular imaging, positron emission tomography, response biomarkers

Paul Vouros, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry, Northeastern University

A key component of our research program seeks to quantify adducts of polyaromatic hydrocarbon DNA in samples from cancer patients exposed to environmental carcinogens. Students will leverage our existing data on carcinogenic metabolites to develop a nanoparticle-based amplification scheme to detect DNA adducts in patients with cancer.
Keywords: mass spectrometry, hyphenation of differential mobility, carcinogens, mutations

Featured Publications

NanomedicinePhD

nanophores

SiRNA nanocomplexes