Koen Raemdonck - RESPIRNA

Description of the PI

koenraemdonck.jpgKoen Raemdonck (Pharmacist, 2004) received his PhD at Ghent University in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2009 under the supervision of Prof. Stefaan De Smedt and Prof. Jo Demeester and continued his research as a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). In 2015, he was a visiting postdoctoral scientist at ETH-Zürich in the group of Prof. Jean-Christophe Leroux. Since 2016, Koen Raemdonck is professor at the Ghent Research Group on Nanomedicines (Department of Pharmaceutics, Ghent University, Belgium). He (co-)authored >60 peer-reviewed publications and is inventor on several (pending) patents. For his research, he received several awards including the biennial National Prize of the Belgian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2011, the prize of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Belgium for scientific research in Pharmacy 2014 and the T. Nagai Postdoctoral Research Achievement award of the Controlled Release Society (CRS) in 2016. Koen is an active member of various academic societies and institutes, including board member of the recently established CRS BeNeLux and France Local Chapter and group leader within the Cancer Research Institute Ghent (CRIG). The work of Prof. Raemdonck is mainly focused on exploring bio-inspired approaches for delivery of macromolecular therapeutics across intra-and extracellular biological barriers. His expertise includes the design and optimization of nanoformulations for RNA therapeutics and the detailed assessment of their behavior both in extracellular fluids and inside cells. Currently, his work focuses on the repurposing of small molecular drugs to improve RNA delivery and the development of inhalable RNA formulations for treatment of pulmonary pathologies. For his research, he was recently awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant (RESPIRNA, 2020).

Description of the project

Respiratory diseases are a global leading cause of morbidity and mortality. For many of these pathologies an unmet medical need exists, which could be addressed through the inhalation of RNA therapeutics. However, despite clear benefits for RNA inhalation therapy, currently no formulations are available to provide both safe and efficient RNA delivery in lung-related target cells.

The team of Prof. Raemdonck recently discovered that pulmonary surfactant, a biomaterial essential for breathing, can promote cellular RNA delivery. This novel finding has led to the conception of the multidisciplinary RESPIRNA project. The overarching aim of RESPIRNA is to gain fundamental insight into the cellular mode of action of this naturally occurring material to fuel the rational design of innovative bio-inspired nanomedicines for RNA inhalation therapy. Effective nanocarriers will be applied for therapeutic RNA delivery in relevant models of obstructive lung disease.



Publications: Ghent University / Scholar


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