BBB Working Group

Piotr Walczak, MD, PhD

Piotr Walczak, MD, PhD

Piotr Walczak is an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Division of Magnetic Resonance (MR) Imaging.He specializes in magnetic resonance research and neuroradiology with an emphasis on stem and progenitor cell transplantation. Dr. Walczak received his MD in 2002 from the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland. He then completed a research fellowship in cell-based therapy for neurodegenerative disorders at the University of South Florida. After a fellowship in cellular imaging at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Walczak joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins in 2008. He is an affiliated faculty member at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s F.M. Kirby Research Center and the Institute for Cell Engineering.

Dr. Walczak’s research focuses primarily on noninvasively monitoring the status of stem and progenitor cells transplanted into the disease-damaged central nervous system. Stem cells are labeled with MR contrast agents, such as iron oxide nanoparticles, to precisely determine the position of the cells after transplantation. By modifying the cells using bioluminescence and MR reporter genes, as well as the use of specific promoter sequences, Dr. Walczak is working to extract information about cell survival and differentiation.

Working Group Meeting, Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018; Rangos 271, East Baltimore Campus. 4:00 PM

Speaker – Piotr Walczak M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Radiology and Radiological Science, JHU-SoM

Topic –Blood brain barrier opening with high precision under real time MRI

Working Group Meeting, Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015; Rangos 271, East Baltimore Campus. 4:00 PM

Speaker – Dennis Grab, Associate Professor, Pathology, JHU-SoM

Topic –Taking a Tryp* Across the Human BBB: Twists and Turns and Roads Not Taken
* Trypanosome(s)

Working Group Meeting, Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Update: This meeting is postponed. New schedule TBA.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015; Rangos 271, East Baltimore Campus.  4:00 PM
Speaker – Dennis Grab, Associate Professor, Pathology, JHU-SoM
Topic –Taking a Tryp* Across the Human BBB: Twists and Turns and Roads Not Taken
* Trypanosome(s)

BBB Working Group

One of this year’s speakers is Piotr Walczak, MD, PhD.

Piotr Walczak, MD, PhD

Piotr Walczak, MD, PhD

Piotr Walczak is an associate professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Division of Magnetic Resonance (MR) Imaging. He specializes in magnetic resonance research and neuroradiology with an emphasis on stem and progenitor cell transplantation. Dr. Walczak received his MD in 2002 from the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland. He then completed a research fellowship in cell-based therapy for neurodegenerative disorders at the University of South Florida. After a fellowship in cellular imaging at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Walczak joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins in 2008. He is an affiliated faculty member at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s F.M. Kirby Research Center and the Institute for Cell Engineering.

Dr. Walczak’s research focuses primarily on noninvasively monitoring the status of stem and progenitor cells transplanted into the disease-damaged central nervous system. Stem cells are labeled with MR contrast agents, such as iron oxide nanoparticles, to precisely determine the position of the cells after transplantation. By modifying the cells using bioluminescence and MR reporter genes, as well as the use of specific promoter sequences, Dr. Walczak is working to extract information about cell survival and differentiation.

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

Working Group Meeting – Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015; 3:00 PM, Materials Science Department, Maryland Hall 110, Homewood Campus

Speaker – Eric Shusta, Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Topic –Mimicking the Blood-Brain Barrier In Vitro and Overcoming it In Vivo

Millions of people worldwide are afflicted with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease,  Alzheimer’s disease, brain cancer, and cerebral AIDS. Although many new drugs are being developed to combat these and other brain diseases, few new treatments have made it to the clinic.  The impermeable nature of the brain vasculature, also known as the blood-brain barrier (BBB), is at least partially responsible for the paucity of new brain therapeutics.  As examples, approximately 98% of small molecule pharmaceuticals do not enter the brain after intravenous administration, and the BBB prevents nearly all protein and gene medicines from entering the brain.  Our research group is therefore focused on developing tools for the analysis of the brain drug delivery process and identifying novel strategies for circumventing this transport barrier.  This presentation will detail our recent work regarding the development of cell-based in vitro experimental models that accurately mimic the BBB characteristics observed in vivo.  Such models are amenable to drug permeability screening and a priori prediction of brain uptake.  In addition, I will discuss our efforts to overcome BBB restrictions on brain drug delivery. To this end, we are mining large antibody libraries to identify antibodies that can target and act as artificial substrates for endogenous receptor-mediated BBB nutrient transport systems.   After conjugation to drug payloads that can include small molecules, proteins, or DNA therapeutics, these antibodies have the potential to deliver medicines across the BBB non invasively.

No Working Group Meeting – Tuesday, July 1, 2014 or Monday, August 4, 2014

There will not be a Working Group Meeting on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 or Monday, August 4, 2014.  We will resume on Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

Working Group Meeting – Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014; 4:00-5:00pm, BSi Conference Room, Rangos 271

Speaker – Il Minn, Department of Radiology

Topic – New Multi-Drug Resistance Pump Inhibitors for Central Nervous System Disease

Working Group Meeting – Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014; 4:00-5:00pm, BSi Conference Room, Rangos 271

Speaker – Andrew Wong, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Topic – An Engineered Microvessel Platform for Live-cell Imaging of Metastasis and Studying Drug Delivery across the Blood Brain Barrier.

Working Group Meeting – Tuesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014; 3:00-4:00pm, West Lecture Hall, Wood Basic Science Building

Speaker – Dr. Harold Selnick, Merck

Topic – “P-gp Matters”