Dr. Jeffrey Zink’s current research focuses on two lines of scientific inquiry. The first is the development of multifunctional nanoparticles for theranostics. This project involves the design, synthesis and in vitro and in vivo testing of mesoporous silica nanoparticles designed with imaging capabilities (including MRI and fluorescence) to target cancer cells and deliver anticancer drugs.
His second area of focus is on the creation of nanomachines for “on command” drug delivery. Nanomachines, such as nanovalves, nano-impellers and “snap-top” carriers, are synthesized, then these machines trap molecules such as anticancer drugs in the pores of nanoparticles and release them in response to stimuli. There is no premature leakage of drugs; the drugs are only released in spatially selected regions at a specified time in response to external stimuli such as magnetic fields or light. In addition, machines that respond to internal cellular signals (such as pH change, enzymes) are also made.
Selected Cancer-Related Publications:
Li Z, Barnes JC, Bosoy A, Stoddart JF, Zink JI. Mesoporous silica nanoparticles in biomedical applications. Chem Soc Rev. 2012 Apr 7;41(7):2590-605. Epub 2012 Jan 3
Ferris DP, Lu J, Gothard C, Yanes R, Thomas CR, Olsen JC, Stoddart JF, Tamanoi F, Zink JI. Synthesis of biomolecule-modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles for targeted hydrophobic drug delivery to cancer cells. Small. 2011 Jul 4;7(13):1816-26. Epub 2011 May 19
Meng H, Xue M, Xia T, Ji Z, Tarn DY, Zink JI, Nel AE. Use of size and a copolymer design feature to improve the biodistribution and the enhanced permeability and retention effect of doxorubicin-loaded mesoporous silica nanoparticles in a murine xenograft tumor model. ACS Nano. 2011 May 24;5(5):4131-44. Epub 2011 Apr 27
Meng H, Liong M, Xia T, Li Z, Ji Z, Zink JI, Nel AE. Engineered design of mesoporous silica nanoparticles to deliver doxorubicin and P-glycoprotein siRNA to overcome drug resistance in a cancer cell line. ACS Nano. 2010 Aug 24;4(8):4539-50.
Meng H, Xue M, Xia T, Zhao YL, Tamanoi F, Stoddart JF, Zink JI, Nel AE. Autonomous in vitro anticancer drug release from mesoporous silica nanoparticles by pH-sensitive nanovalves. J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Sep 15;132(36):12690-7.