dr. Lynn De Backer (PhD)
The therapeutic potential of siRNA has already been recognized for the treatment of many distinct pathologies for which no suitable cure exists to date. Also in cancer research it has gained a lot of attention, considering its advantages compared to small molecular chemotherapeutics. Unfortunately, the cell membrane is largely impermeable for these macromolecular therapeutics. Cellular delivery is typically facilitated by loading them into nanoparticles (NPs). These NPs are mostly internalized by cells via endocytosis and trafficked toward lysosomes for degradation. Therefore, our research focuses on the development of innovative strategies to stimulate cytosolic delivery of siRNA. To reach this goal, we focus on (i) improving NP design, (ii) repurposing small molecules as delivery adjuvant and (iii) exploiting endogenous materials, such as pulmonary surfactant, for drug delivery.
Lynn De Backer obtained her MS degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Ghent University in 2010. In the same year she became a doctoral fellow of BOF-Ghent University. In 2015, she obtained her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Stefaan De Smedt and Prof. Koen Raemdonck in the laboratory of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy. As she continues her research as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab, she focuses on the development of innovative strategies to stimulate cytosolic delivery of biopharmaceuticals. She (co-)authored several peer-reviewed publications, many of which in leading journals of the field (Journal of Controlled Release, Biomaterials).