Research interests

I established the Nanomedicine Laboratory at Mount Sinai in New York (Nano-TMII):
At Nano-TMII we develop nanomedical approaches towards molecular imaging and targeted therapy of cancer and cardiovascular disease in a preclinical setting. To that aim my lab developed libraries of nanoparticle probes based on the lipoprotein architecture to target plaque macrophages and diagnose atherosclerosis with CT, MRI and optical techniques. We also developed probes that allow apoptosis or collagen imaging of the diseased vessel wall. In parallel my lab developed complex multifunctional nanoparticles of which the size, composition and payload of drugs and diagnostic agents can be judiciously controlled. We have shown their effectiveness for targeted imaging and therapy in mouse models of cancer. I also established a research line aimed at targeted nanotherapy of atherosclerotic disease. We explored this new atherosclerosis treatment paradigm in rabbit and mouse models of atherosclerosis and show its ability to induce a rapid reduction of plaque inflammation. These studies served as the foundation of clinical trials we have initiated in September 2011 at the AMC Amsterdam where I hold a position as of January 2012. In December 2011 we contributed a seminal review paper to Nature Reviews Drug Discovery with the title “Perspectives and opportunities for nanomedicine in the management of atherosclerosis”. The goal of my research activities is to further develop state-of-the-art nanomedical approaches, develop imaging readouts and test them preclinically at Sinai, while complementary translational studies and clinical trials will be done at the AMC.

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