Personal Statement

I am the director of the Nanomedicine Research Center for drug delivery and nanomedicine in the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai. I’ve had uninterrupted funding for 12 years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Cancer Institute (NCI).

My main interests are in differential cancer genomic and proteomic signatures as a tool for finding novel, early markers of cancer growth, and in development and design of new nanomedicine drugs against these and other tumor targets. My group has developed nanobioconjugates that selectively target brain and breast cancers that could have less dose-limiting toxicity than current therapies. Recently, novel nanoimmunomedicines were developed in the Nanomedicine Research Center for cancer treatment with the ability of simultaneous stimulation of general and local tumor immune systems.

I joined the faculty at Cedars-Sinai to direct studies combining basic cancer research to discover specific human tumor markers with translational research. One of the novel markers, the structural tumor vessel wall protein laminin-411, is in a clinical trial as a prognostic and diagnostic marker for human glial tumor progression. These discoveries led to the development of new technologies for drug delivery and the engineering of a new class of anti-cancer nanomedicine drugs for inhibition of tumor-specific molecular targets. Since 2006, my projects have been awarded NIH/NCI grants with a total of $24.5 million in funding. My research is also funded with state and private funds for nanomedicine development.

Another area of study is the influence of air pollution on brain molecular marker activation leading to differential expression of genes that play an important role in tumorigenesis and neurogenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. My studies have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Cell, PNAS USA, Cancer Research, Nanomedicine, Journal of Controlled Release, American Journal of Pathology, Angiogenesis and ACS NANO.

I earned my degrees from Kiev’s University in Ukraine and the Ukraine Academy of Sciences, and completed my postdoctoral training at the Baylor College of Medicine and University of California, San Diego.