New Hopkins materials science faculty to explain ‘flash nanoprecipitation’

Margarita Herrera-Alonso

Margarita Herrera-Alonso

Margarita Herrera-Alonso, a new assistant professor in Johns Hopkins Department of Materials Science and Engineering, will present the talk, “Block Copolymer Nanoparticles by Flash Nanoprecipitation: Prodrug Strategies,” on Feb. 3, 2010, at 3 p.m. in Maryland Hall 110. This talk is part of the Materials Science seminar course (EN 510.804), but all Hopkins students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.


Colloidal particles are proven effective carriers for therapeutic and imaging agents. Protection of solutes (therapeutic and/or imaging) by encapsulation in colloidal particles enhances their biodistribution and pharmacokinetics, prevents degradation during transport, and allows for triggered/controlled release. Choice of the carrier–dendrimer, micelle, liposome, nanoparticle– is largely determined by its loading efficiency, drug content, and delivery rate. Polymer-based carriers are particularly useful given their chemical, compositional and architectural versatility. We are interested in the formulation of drug-loaded polymer-based nanoparticles. The uniqueness of these nanoparticles relies on the method by which they are produced: Flash Nanoprecipitation. Successful encapsulation of solutes in polymer nanoparticles by Flash Nanoprecipitation depends on establishing rapid micromixing conditions and balancing the kinetics of block copolymer self-assembly and solute precipitation. While Flash Nanoprecipitation is an extremely versatile method for solute encapsulation, the resultant nanoparticles are not exempt from undergoing solvent-mediated interparticle mass transfer. This instability can be attenuated by the use of prodrugs. Specific examples of estradiol prodrugs and their encapsulation in a series of poly(ethylene glycol)-based copolymers will be discussed.

Whiting School of Engineering Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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