Innovative Drug Delivery System

Maryam Alkaabi is a Kawader Fellow, currently working as a research assistant in the field of chemistry under the supervision of Professor of Chemistry, Ali Trabolsi.

Maryam Alkaabi researches on developing innovative drug delivery systems for the treatment of cancer, and other types of tumors by using gold-embedded nanoparticles and other technologies. 

Maryam is actively working on two Kawader projects, the first of which is investigating the possibility of using covalent organic frameworks, which are embedded with gold nanoparticles, in treating cancers. Her second project focuses on the development of targeted chemotherapeutic nanoparticles that will enhance tumor targeting and treatment.

“The covalent organic frameworks act as a reservoir and loading for the drug, while the gold nanoparticles are meant to provide photodynamic and photothermal therapy, two possibly innovative treatments for cancer”, Maryam said. Her team is currently evaluating the compounds within a number of different drugs on cancer cells in order to determine the most efficient one. Maryam plans to administer her drug delivery system on mice in order to further confirm drug effectiveness.

For her second project, Maryam is researching the development of a novel therapeutic nanoplatform for diagnosing and treating cancers. This platform will be based upon targeted chemotherapeutic nanoparticles. To enhance tumor targeting through the nanoplatform, Maryam will functionalize the nanoparticles with water-soluble organic nanocontainers for drug encapsulation, and then conjugate them to cell-penetrating molecules.

Her team aims to use the nanoplatform to target a tumor, monitor it by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and treat the disease by controlling the gradual release of anti - cancer drugs via a non-invasive external stimulus that will induce hyperthermia.

For Maryam, her time as a Kawader Fellow was transformational in many ways. Particularly important to her was the mentorship she received from faculty, and the internationalism embedded in the core of the University. "I will be forever grateful for all the support and guidance that I received from my supervisor and colleagues. I truly enjoy being a part of a rich, international faculty and staff community, which has exposed me to a variety of different perspectives."