Lotte Vermeulen

Lotte Vermeulen

Contact

Lotte Vermeulen
Laboratory for General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy
Ghent University
Harelbekestraat 72
9000 Gent
Belgium
Tel: 0032 9 264 8047 (secretary)
Tel: 0032 9 264 8095 (direct)
Fax: 0032 9 264 8189
E-mail: LotteM.Vermeulen@UGent.be

Biography

2013

Master in Drug Development at the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium with great distinction (Title of the master thesis: Obtaining chitosan microspheres on superhydrophobic surfaces for controlled release of 5-fluorouracil).

Scholarship

Doctoral fellow of the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation through Science and Technology in Flanders, Belgium (IWT-Vlaanderen) since January 2014.

Educational tasks

Lab instructor and tutor for the Pharmaceutical Bachelor Proof since 2014 (Ghent University, Belgium).

Research interests

Non-viral gene therapy, cellular barriers, intracellular trafficking, advanced light microscopy

Summary of Research Project(s)

My research focusses on the role of the endosomal barrier in non-viral gene delivery. Research in the last decade has clearly demonstrated that endosomal uptake and the subsequent trafficking of nanoparticles through endosomal compartments is a complex process that depends on many parameters (e.g. type of nanoparticle, cell type, …). Consequently, more and more it is being appreciated that a detailed understanding of their intracellular processing is needed for rational optimization of their structure and composition. The aim of this project is to get a better understanding of endosomal escape and to develop new methods to enhance endosomal escape. This is considered a major bottleneck in intracellular delivery of nanomaterials since the majority of the endocytosed nanomaterials remain entrapped in endosomes and are routed to lysosomes for degradation.

The first part of this project aims at visualizing endosomal escape and relate this event to intracellular trafficking of nanoparticles for gene therapy inside living cells. This will be done for gene polyplexes made from linear polyethylenimine and chitosan-disulfide-conjugated low molecular weigth PEI in different cell lines.

Second, two types of novel gene nanomedicine particles will be developed with light-triggered endosomal escape capabilities for enhanced transfection efficiency. Third, making use of light-triggered endosomal escape, the currently unresolved question will be addressed if there exists an optimal time and place in the cell for pDNA complexes to escape from the endosomes.