The division of biological chemistry of the American Chemical Society has awarded Ellen Broering, a graduate student in Shanta Dhar’s group, a competitive travel award to attend the ACS 242nd National Meeting and Exposition in Denver, CO. This grant is awarded to promising graduate students or postdocs to offset the cost of travel to the ACS meeting. She will be presenting a poster in the division of medicinal chemistry entitled, “Nano-sensors for Apoptosis Detection in Atherosclerotic Plaques.”
Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for more deaths than any other disease in the industrialized world. Most of the available treatment approaches targeted to arterial walls cannot be tailored to oral medications or to consistent therapy. Apoptosis of cells along the arterial wall serves as a target for detection of plaque vulnerable to embolism. To detect atherosclerotic plaques noninvasively, we are developing a nanoparticle platform, which can selectively target macrophages in the arteries and detect apoptotic cells with altered or compromised membranes. These highly engineered nanoparticles includes iron oxide in the core of a polymeric matrix for MRI detection, mannose for macrophage targeting, apoptotic cell targeting peptides, and a metal binding site for effective detection.