BIOE Seminar: Vesna Zderic

Friday, December 7, 2018
9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
A. James Clark Hall, Room 2132
Dr. Giuliano Scarcelli

Dr. Vesna Zderic
Associate Professor
Biomedical Engineering
George Washington University

Therapeutic ultrasound for cell stimulation and drug delivery

Professor Vesna Zderic‘s Therapeutic Ultrasound Laboratory conducts experimental and modeling work in the area of ultrasound therapy. Current projects include application of ultrasound to enhance ocular and nail drug delivery, studies of safety of therapeutic ultrasound applications, and ultrasound application for functional cell modification. This talk will cover several research topics that we are currently working on including: 1) Stimulation of Insulin Release from Pancreatic Beta Cells. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a complex metabolic disease that has reached epidemic proportions. Pharmacological management routinely requires complex therapy with multiple medications and loses its effectiveness over time. Thus, new modes of therapy are needed that will target directly the underlying causes of abnormal glucose metabolism. The objective of our studies is to explore a novel, non-pharmacological approach that utilizes the application of ultrasound energy to safely augment insulin release from pancreatic beta cells. 2) Ultrasound-Enhanced Ocular Drug Delivery. Our objective in this work has been to determine combinations of ultrasound parameters that can provide optimal delivery of different drugs into the eye, study mechanisms of ultrasound action, and determine long-term safety of this application. Current work focuses on modeling of temperature increases in the eye during ultrasound application, studies of the effectiveness of delivery of anti-parasitic drugs into the eye, and delivery of macromolecules for treatment of macular degeneration. 3) Therapeutic Ultrasound for Treatment of Onychomycosis. It is estimated that 32 million Americans are suffering from onychomycosis. Although there are several antifungal drugs available for treatment, most are applied to the top of the nail and since the nail has poor permeability they do not reach the nail bed reliably and, therefore, are not very effective in treating the fungus. Our preliminary studies have indicated that the use of ultrasound can increase delivery of topical antifungal drug ciclopirox by 425%. In our current studies, we have been testing our ultrasound approach in excised fungal human nails under an approved IRB protocol. People who would benefit the most from this treatment are those in their 60s or older, particularly those who suffer from diabetes, poor circulation, immunosuppressive diseases, or have cancer that is being treated with radiation.

About the Speaker

Vesna Zderic is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the George Washington University (GW). She received her BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, in 1998 and her PhD degree in Bioengineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2004. Before coming to GW in 2006, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute.  Prof. Zderic's current research interests include the application of ultrasound to enhance drug delivery through different biological barriers, studies of safety of therapeutic ultrasound application, and ultrasound application for functional modification of cells and tissues.  During her professional career, she has published more than 40 peer-reviewed journal papers, several book chapters, and an edited book. She has also been active in research community as an associate editor and technical committee member for IEEE EMBS, member of advisory editorial board of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, and reviewer for NIH granting programs and several engineering and ultrasound journals.

Audience: Public 

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