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  5. FDA CERSI Lecture on Extracellular vesicles: a paradigm shift in gynecologic healthcare by Hannah Zierden - 07/23/2024
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Webcast | Virtual

Event Title
FDA CERSI Lecture on Extracellular vesicles: a paradigm shift in gynecologic healthcare by Hannah Zierden
July 23, 2024

July 23, 2024

University of Maryland CERSI

Tuesday, July 23, 2024 3:00 – 4:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

Presented By

Hannah Zierden, PhD

Hannah Zierden, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of Maryland

About the Presentation

Women’s health conditions suffer from a dramatic lack of therapeutic options. While recent advances in nanocarrier technologies have made a significant clinical impact on cancer, immune disorders, cardiovascular and infectious diseases, gynecologic and obstetric indications have seen little translational innovation, contributing to persistent disparities in women’s health. Our group previously demonstrated that vaginally delivered nanocarriers have the potential to improve therapeutic efficacy for a range of gynecologic and obstetric diseases; however, synthetic nanoparticle formulations have proven to be low-throughput, time-consuming, and cost prohibitive for clinical translation. Therefore, we propose to accelerate new treatments for women’s health by leveraging biological communication, namely, bacterial extracellular vesicles. Bacterial extracellular vesicles (bEVs) are cell-derived, membrane-bound nanoparticles produced by both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Naturally produced bEVs carry small molecules, proteins, and nucleic acids long distances in the body, facilitating communication with host cells. bEVs have garnered interest as a drug delivery platform, owing to their innate barrier-crossing abilities, lower immunogenicity, targeting capabilities, and ease of production compared to synthetic nanoparticles and mammalian EVs. Using bEVs derived from beneficial vaginal bacteria, we identify culture parameters to support biomanufacturing efforts, evaluate the barrier crossing and targeting properties of bEVs, and determine the probiotic properties of these biological nanoparticles in the vaginal environment. Together, our work lays a foundation for the translation of bEV-based therapeutics to treat gynecologic and obstetric diseases.

About the Presenter

Dr. Hannah Zierden joined the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Maryland in 2022. The Zierden Lab works at the interface of biology and engineering to develop next generation therapeutics to support gynecologic and obstetric health throughout the lifespan. With rational drug delivery at the core of their work, the Zierden Lab is particularly interested in how extracellular vesicles from both bacteria and mammalian cells facilitate disease, and how they can be leveraged as a novel drug delivery platform. They build model systems to understand complex interactions between the host environment, the local microbiome, and novel delivery systems to support translationally relevant delivery science. Dr. Zierden leads a diverse team which has published work in high-impact journals and has earned several awards at the local, state, and national levels. Dr. Zierden earned her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2020 and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She was the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the MIT Rising Stars in Chemical Engineering Award, the Society for Reproductive Investigation Trainee Award, and the Maryland Academy of Sciences Outstanding Young Engineer Award.

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