Joanne Du

PhD student
Joanne is in her final year of PhD. She completed her Honours degree in Pharmaceutical Science at Monash University. Her current research aims to discover a light responsive lipid-based nanomaterial suitable for the treatment of Aged-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD is a chronic disease that is estimated to cause irreversible vision impairment and blindness to 196 million elderly people by 2020. Currently, the only effective treatment is highly invasive and frequent injections directly into the eye. There is an urgent need of a drug delivery system that is capable of providing on-demand drug release in order to enhance therapeutic efficiency, minimize toxic side effects, reduce frequency of administration and selectively deliver drug to the target site. Joanne has been conducting synchrotron scattering studies at the SAXS/WAXS beamline to probe the effect of near-infrared (NIR) light on the structure of liquid crystalline (LC) nanoparticles to control drug release. A suitable LC system was selected for corresponding drug release studies using Eylea®, a drug that inhibits the vascular endothelial growth factor to slow the growth of leaky choroid neovasculature (CNV) that causes wet AMD. The LC system was found to exhibit a slow to fast drug release upon NIR irradiation, which has the potential to reduce the frequency of injections by replacing the repeated injections with a non-invasive on-demand release strategy. Furthermore, Joanne has been investigating the use of stealth nanoparticles that is decorated with polyethylene glycol to target the leaky neovasculature via the enhanced permeation and retention effect. The distribution of the stealth nanoparticles is quantified in laser-induced CNV rodents to determine whether selective accumulation can be achieved through systemic delivery.
Besides her studies, she enjoys the company of her friends and family. Her hobbies include shopping, eating – and the occasional cooking sessions, spending hours to paint her nails knowing that they will chip by the end playing sports, reading manga, watching anime/dramas, and finally, sleeping.
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