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Home | Tag Archives: Mahesh Narayan Ph.D

Tag Archives: Mahesh Narayan Ph.D

UTEP Researchers help blaze path for Biofriendly Materials to aid drug design delivery for Neurodegenerative Disorders

The contributions of researchers from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) have yielded the first indication that carbon quantum dots, a class of nanoparticles, can be utilized to combat neurological disorders, according to a paper published in the journal Processes as part its special issue on protein biosynthesis and drug design and delivery.

The study, titled “Untangling the Potential of Carbon Quantum Dots in Neurodegenerative Disease,” was co-authored by Sreeprasad T. Sreenivasan, Ph.D., and Mahesh Narayan, Ph.D., assistant professor and professor, respectively, in UTEP’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The pair contributed to work by Prakash Narayan, Ph.D., vice president of preclinical research for Angion Biomedica Corp. in Uniondale, New York; and Lindsey Jung, a student at Tenafly High School in New Jersey, who works under Prakash Narayan’s supervision.

The study focuses on carbon quantum dots (CQDs), biofriendly materials synthesized from waste materials such as wood, fruit peel, algae and even salmon.

A road map laid out by the research team addresses, for the first time, key requirements for the transitioning of their use from environmental-sensing applications into the neurodegenerative domain; a crossing-over that requires their separation and total characterization, including aspects related to safety and their ability to target specific receptors in the brain.

“The carbonaceous quanta are finally making their way from physics into chemistry and now, biology,” Prakash Narayan said. “This work lays the foundation for harnessing the enormous potential of carbon quantum dots for therapeutic intervention in neuro disease.”

The CQDs are made by “pressure-cooking” waste biomaterials such as fruit peel, amino acids, algae and even fish. As an outcome of the procedure, they are synthesized as a mixture of carbon dots and non-carbon dots. Some of the compounds in the mixture can be toxic. This aspect would negate their use in biomedical applications.

To facilitate the crossing-over of CQDs into preclinical and eventually clinical use, the research team provides a path for their safe use while demonstrating their potential to both prevent and treat neurodegenerative disorders, Mahesh Narayan said.

The research was conducted at Angion Biomedica, and at UTEP’s Functional Quantum Materials Laboratory and the Laboratory for Neurodegenerative Research.

The transitioning of CQD applications from electrochemistry, catalysis and environmental sensing to biomedicine represents an important milestone in its 15-year history; a bellwether for its yet-unrealized potential in interventional biology, imaging, diagnostics, prophylaxis and therapy.

“This will allow pharmaceutical companies to tailor carbon quantum dots for specific uses,” Mahesh Narayan said. “Individuals with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s could benefit greatly from this kind of therapy.”

To read the full paper, click here.

UTEP Researchers develop Nanohybrid Vehicle to optimally deliver drugs into human body

Researchers in The University of Texas at El Paso’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a nanohybrid vehicle that can be used to optimally deliver drugs into the human body.

Leading the study are Mahesh Narayan, Ph.D., professor, and Sreeprasad Sreenivasan, Ph.D., assistant professor, both from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC) in UTEP’s College of Science.

The research was published in April 2020 in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Drug candidates that show promise against a particular disease often are toxic to other cell types. One such drug is the polyphenol ellagic acid (EA). This antioxidant, derived from nature, demonstrates the potential to mitigate pathologies including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

To selectively use EA in the brain against neurodegenerative disorders requires that its cytotoxic potential be reduced and only its anti-oxidant potential be exploited. Narayan, Sreenivasan and colleagues created a nanohybrid vehicle to circumvent this problem.

“We are very excited about the new drug delivery materials developed by Drs. Narayan and Sreenivasan,” said Robert Kirken, Ph.D., dean of UTEP’s College of Science. “This platform allows for molecules to be impregnated into the material so that the drug can more specifically target the tumor or other tissue site, thus increasing the beneficial effects of the drug while reducing its negative side effects.”

The researchers discovered that encapsulating EA in chitosan, a sugar, reduces its inherent cytotoxicity while enhancing its anti-oxidant properties. The chitosan shell, which makes up the hard outer skeleton of shellfish, also permits EA delivery via a rapid burst phase and a relatively slow phase.

This further enhances the drug delivery because the nanohybrid vehicle is uniquely suited for drug release over extended time periods.

“This work creates a new type of bio-friendly drug-delivery vehicle made of recyclable materials,” Narayan said. “The other special feature of this vehicle is that it can deliver the drug via two mechanisms: one rapid and the other a slow-release.”

Other project collaborators include UTEP doctoral student Jyoti Ahlawat, who led the research project under the supervision of her mentors; Eva Deemer, Ph.D., of UTEP’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering; and Rabin Neupane, a graduate student in the department of industrial pharmacy at the University of Toledo.

Narayan’s laboratory focuses on mitigating oxidative stress induced by neurotoxins as a means to prevent neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Sreenivasan’s lab works to bridge and interface chemistry, materials physics, and biological sciences to develop uniquely designed quantum structures and devices.

To learn more about this research, click here.

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