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Kristy Ainslie

(919) 962-4556

Kristy Ainslie, Ph.D. applies her knowledge base in biomaterials, and immunology to develop new immune-modulatory therapies that treat and prevent infectious, and autoimmune diseases. Her lab aims to design practical and innovative formulations, taking into account the scalable production and applications in developing nations.

Owen S. Fenton


Owen S. Fenton, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Owen conducted his Ph.D. and postdoctoral studies in the laboratories of Professors Daniel Anderson and Robert Langer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Current research efforts in the Fenton laboratory explore the discovery and development of non-viral carrier platforms to improve the efficacy and safety of RNA therapeutics.

Shawn D Hingtgen

(919) 537-3827

Due to their expansive utility, stem cell-based therapies hold the potential to redefine therapeutic approaches and provide cures for many terminal diseases. In the Hingtgen lab, we seek to harness the potential of stem cells to develop new and better methods for treating terminal cancers, including brain cancer. We use an integrative approach that begins with creating specially designed targeted therapeutic proteins.

Leaf Huang

(919) 843-0736

The Laboratory of Drug Targeting has been working on liposomes and immunoliposomes for drug delivery. Current activities are focused in the development of nonviral vectors for gene (including siRNA) therapy, and receptor mediated drug and vaccine targeting using self-assembled nanoparticles. The technologies are tested for therapy of cancer and liver diseases in animal models.

Alexander V. Kabanov

Alexander “Sasha” Kabanov, Ph.D., Dr.Sci., is the Mescal Swaim Ferguson Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and codirector of the Carolina Institute for Nanomedicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining UNC-Chapel Hill in July 2012, Kabanov served for nearly eighteen years at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he was the Parke-Davis Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the Center for Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine, which he founded in 2004.

Sam Lai

(919) 966-3024

Sam Lai, Ph.D., was born in Hong Kong and spent his childhood in both Hong Kong and Vancouver. After completing high school at Phillips Academy, Andover, he attended Cornell University and received his BS in chemical and biomolecular engineering in 2003. He then undertook doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University, receiving his PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering in 2007. Following a one-year postdoc, he became a research assistant professor at Johns Hopkins in fall 2008 before joining the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in fall 2010.

Juliane Nguyen

(919) 962-4538

Dr. Juliane Nguyen is an Associate Professor in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics. Her translational research program focuses on developing the next generation of safe and effective biotherapeutics for life-threatening diseases such as cancer and myocardial infarction.

Philip Smith

(919) 962-0095

Dr. Smith received a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Illinois, Chicago Medical Center, and then a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, with an emphasis in pharmacokinetics, in 1985 from the University of California, San Francisco. After postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, as a National Research Council Fellow, he joined the faculty of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin.

Elena V Batrakova

(919) 537-3712

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 and Alzheimer’s diseases. 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.

Jillian Perry

(919) 843-6995

Jillian Perry, PhD, leverages her knowledge of polymer chemistry, biomaterials, and drug delivery to develop novel drug delivery carriers for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Current research interests lay in utilizing high resolution 3D printing for the development of scaffolds for cell/drug delivery, scaffolds for 3D cell culture, generation of solid microarray patches (MAPs) for transdermal drug/vaccine delivery, as well as hollow MAPs for interstitial fluid sampling.

Jillian received both her bachelors of science in chemical engineering and PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Florida. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship here at the University of North Carolina under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph DeSimone. She joined the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in 2019 as a research assistant professor in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics and is a member of the Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery.

Marina Sokolsky

(919) 962-4698

Sokolsky-Papkov’s current research centers on design of nano-based, sustained release and remote actuated drug delivery systems for treatment and diagnosis of cancer. My research utilizes several platform nanoparticles based technologies (polymeric micelles and nanoparticles, cell derived exosomes and inorganic nanoparticles) and is focused on engineering treatment modalities for two main types of cancer: brain cancer and brain metastases and diagnosis and treatment of post operative residual disease and metastatic spread with emphasis on (1) designing drug loaded nanoparticles which can effectively home to brain cancer in vivo and deliver tumor specific payload to improve treatment efficacy (2) utilize sustained release and nanotechnology approaches to design delivery systems which can improve non invasive diagnosis of primary metastatic spread, treat residual disease and promote post-operative would healing and (3) utilize intrinsic properties of inorganic nanoparticles to design theranostic delivery systems which combine remotely induced drug release and cell apoptosis.