Speaker: Eun Ji Chung, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California

Peptide-based nanoassemblies toward targeted, theranostic applications

Molecular engineering of multifunctional, multivalent micelles provides a tool for the detection and targeted delivery of therapeutics to many diseases including cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease. Moreover, the rational design of these nanoparticles has the potential to deliver signals to report back on or influence the regeneration of the cellular niche for personalized medicine regimes, while addressing the limitations of current diagnostic strategies.

To this end, we have engineered peptide amphiphile micelles (PAMs) that bind to various markers of diseases and incorporated imaging molecules to act as contrast agents for modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Peptide amphiphiles (PAs) are biomimetic molecules with a biologically active “headgroup” that are chemically linked to a hydrophobic “tail”. Micelles formed from PAs are advantageous because a locally concentrated display of a peptide can be used to potentiate specific binding to a disease target of interest, minimizing systemic side effects. Furthermore, their diameter is on the order of 10 nanometers which provides the ability to tailor biodistribution and pharmacokinetic properties in vivo. Due to the modularity of PAMs and their ability to incorporate multiple components, theranostic (“thera”-peutic + “diag”-nostic) next generation nanoparticles can be designed with capabilities to bind to specific disease markers of interest, deliver a therapeutic, and monitor the progression and regression of the disease in real-time. In this talk, I’ll specifically expand on their application for intravenous and oral delivery for nucleic acid and small molecule delivery for cardiovascular and renal diseases.


Eun Ji Chung is a Gabilan Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. Her laboratory is interested in harnessing molecular design and self-assembly to develop nano- to macroscale biomaterials that can be utilized in medicine. Dr. Chung received her Ph.D. from the Department of Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, and her postdoctoral training from the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. Dr. Chung is a recipient of the Baxter Early Career Award, American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship, Chicago Biomedical Consortium Postdoctoral Research Grant, the K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH, and named 35 Under 35 from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers as well as an Emerging Investigator in Biomaterials Science in 2017. She is a member of the Society for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering Society, and is on the editorial boards of Experimental Biology and Medicine and SLAS Technology.

 Seminar Flyer_Eun Ji Chung

Date(s) - May 10, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Engineering V, Room 2101
410 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles CA 90095