Alex Komin awarded pre-doctoral NIH fellowship

November 7, 2017

Materials Science and Engineering graduate student Alex Komin was recently awarded the very competitive Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (Kirschstein-NRSA)The funding institute for the award is the National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke (NINDS). The success rate for obtaining an F31 award was 23.8%  (for all NIH institutes) in 2016 and 21% for NINDS. The Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award is a program that aims to help predoctoral graduate students “develop into a productive, independent research scientists, to obtain mentored research training while conducting dissertation research”.  Alex Komin’s project will involve studying new ways to deliver therapeutic agents.

In his project proposal, Alex wrote, “Many brain disorders, such as brain cancer and Alzheimer’s, lack drug therapy because drugs are unable to cross the blood-brain barrier and reach the brain. We identified a peptide (a short polymer of amino acids) that is able to deliver a drug-like molecule across a laboratory model of the blood-brain barrier. We propose to understand more about what gives this peptide the barrier-penetrating properties with the long-term goal of using this information to develop barrier-penetrating peptides for drug delivery.”

Alex Komin will be working under Dr. Kalina Hristova and Dr. Peter Searson. Dr. Hristova’s lab will provide expertise in peptide-cell membrane interactions and the development of peptide-based drug delivery systems. Dr. Searson’s lab will provide expertise in the development of the blood-brain barrier in vitro models and microfluidic devices. 
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