UHN Researcher Profile: http://www.uhnresearch.ca/researchers/profile.php?lookup=14399
B.S., Hangzhou University, Hangzhou, China
Ph.D., State University of New York, Buffalo
The main interest of the Zheng group is to develop two new drug platforms to combat cancer: 1) light-activated intelligent molecules; and 2) nature-inspired theranostic nanomedicine. Our lab introduced the concept of activatable photodynamic therapy agents which enable these photoactive drugs to be silenced in normal cells but are toxic to cancer cells expressing specific signatures. This can greatly mitigate the collateral damage that often limits cancer therapy. By mimicking how lipoproteins assemble and function, we have created new drug delivery vehicles that imitate the structure and behavior of nature's own nanoparticles. Such biomimetic design has enabled direct cytosolic transport of cancer therapeutics, thus bypassing endosomal trafficking that is detrimental to drug efficacy. Our lab also discovered an unprecedented class of phototransducing lipid nanoparticles that expand the role of conventional organic nanoparticles beyond traditional drug delivery vehicles to powerful and versatile biophotonic tools.