Christine Skibinski, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Biotechnology
My research interests include the application of nanotechnology and drug repurposing to the field of cancer research. During my graduate studies at Pennsylvania State University, I studied the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids as chemopreventive agents for breast cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have a chemopreventive effect when administered in high amounts. My studies utilized an iTRAQ proteomic analysis to measure the changes in protein expression in blood plasma of rodent models of breast cancer administered omega-3 fatty acids. These studies illustrated that omega-3 fatty acids could decrease protein markers of inflammation and cell growth and have a protective effect.
My main dissertation project focused on the development of an oral drug delivery system as a chemopreventive strategy for breast cancer (US Patent: 10,272, 041 B2). This acid-stable liposome of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) effectively delivered DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, to breast cancer cell lines, while protecting the fatty acid from degradation under physiological conditions. In vivo studies illustrated that the liposome delivery system could increase DHA metabolites, which were found to be more potent chemopreventive compounds than the parent molecule, in rodent breast tissue and blood plasma.
I further applied my knowledge of cancer research to my post-doctoral training in the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University. My post-doctoral training focused on applying the anthelminthic drug, Mebendazole, in combination with radiation to intracranial rodent models of malignant meningioma. These studies illustrated that FDA approved drugs, whose mechanisms are well-established, have the potential to be used as anti-cancer agents with minimum side effects. In addition, my work focused on the application of Temozolomide (TMZ) analogs to intracranial rodent models of glioblastoma multiforme. TMZ, a DNA alkylating drug, is the standard-of-care for the treatment glioblastoma multiforme, but TMZ resistance in some tumors can make the drug ineffective. The analogs of TMZ utilized in my studies were found to have improved aqueous drug stability and blood brain barrier penetrance making them more efficacious in intracranial rodent models of glioblastoma multiforme.
B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Stockton University, Pomona, NJ, USA
PhD. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA
Post-Doctoral Training, Neurological Surgery and Brain Cancer, Johns Hopkins University Department of Neurosurgery, Baltimore, MD, USA