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Elena V Batrakova, PhD

Associate Professor

Elena V Batrakova, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor, Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics

Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery


(919) 537-3712
MARSICO HALL, Office 2209, CB# 7362, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599

The main focus of Batrakova’s research is to develop a CNS delivery system for antioxidants and neuronal growth factors to attenuate neuroinflammation and produce neuroprotection in patients with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and Lysosomal Storage disorder, Batten disease. For this purpose, her group utilizes inflammatory-response cells, macrophages and monocytes that can migrate toward the inflammation site, cross the blood brain barrier, and release the preloaded drugs in the brain. Thus, living cells can act as Trojan horses, delivering potent therapeutics across the blood brain barrier. Recently, the main focus of Dr. Batrakova’s group is on the development of personalized drug delivery systems by loading therapeutics into immune response cells or extracellular vesicles (EVs) released from these cells. Overall, she has published over 140 papers and filed 20+ US and foreign patents on the application of drug delivery systems of biologically active molecules. She is a highly cited of total 10 scientists at UNC, and a Thomson Reuters agency named her top 1% Highly Cited Researcher.

Education, Certification and Licensure

  • 1983: M.S. in chemistry from M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU)
  • 1987: Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry at the Department of Polymers, MSU

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9386-3790

Current Projects

  • Cell-based Platform for Gene Delivery to the Brain
  • Extracellular Vesicles for CNS Delivery of Therapeutic Enzymes to Treat Lysosomal Storage Disorders
  • Cell-Mediated Targeted Redox Intervention for the Treatment and Prevention of Atherosclerosis
  • Inflammatory Cells for Transport of Therapeutic Polypeptides Across the BBB


  • Development of cell-mediated drug delivery systems to attenuate neuroinflammation and produce neuroprotection in patients with PD
  • Development of polymer-based drug delivery systems for the chemotherapy and central nervous system disorders
  • Functional studies of the blood-brain barrier and CNS drug transport
  • Inhibition of drug efflux transporters, including p-glycoprotein, multidrug resistance-associated protein, and breast cancer resistant protein
  • Development of exosomal-based drug delivery systems

Honors and Awards

2020 Editorial Board, Pharmaceutics
2019 Editorial Board, Cells
2017 Author of the Top 25% most cited PlosOne articles
Editorial Board, International Journal of Neurodegenerative Disorders
Editorial Board, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism: Research Therapy
2016 Author of the Top Ten WNAN Article accessed in 2016
Leader for Scientific Advisory Board for the Neurosensory and Neuroregenerative Research Foundation (NNRF)
UNC Academic Excellence Award in Research
Award for outstanding contributions to the PharmD Program UNC, Chapel Hill, NC
Editorial board, Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (JCP)
Editorial board, Mathews Journal of Cancer Science
2015 Editorial board, Journal of Bioanalytical Techniques
Editorial board, International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Research
Scientific Advisory Board for the neurosensory and Neuroregenerative Research Foundation
The most downloaded article in Journal of Controlled Release corresponding author
2014 Research Innovation Award, UNMC
2013 – 2014 UNC Academic Excellence Award in Research
2014 Top 1% highly cited researcher in Pharmaceutics and Toxicology;
2014 – 2017 Editorial Board, Journal of Drug Delivery
2014 A Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher
Highly cited of total 10 scientists at UNC 2014
Editorial Board, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine (Elsevier)
2012 – 2013 UNC Academic Excellence Award in Research
2011 UNMC Innovation, Development and Engagement Award (IDEA)
2010 Top cited article in 2008-2010 Award in Journal of Controlled Release
Oldfield/Reagan Alzheimer’s Research Award
2009 UNMC New Investigator Award