HRP SU21-27: Research Opportunity with Dr. Henry Smilowitz

Project Mentor

Dr. Henry Smilowitz
Department of Cell Biology

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description Our lab, in collaboration with a small biotech company, pioneered the used of high-Z nanoparticles to enhance radiation therapy of tumors–with an emphasis on brain tumors.
We have shown that novel iodine nanoparticles (INPs) enhance radiation therapy of advanced gliomas and metastatic breast tumors growing in the brains of mice. We wish to extend our studies to patient derived xenograft (PDX) tumors growing in the brains of mice. Our focus will be the ability of targeted and non-targeted nanoparticles to load selected PDX tumor models with defined characteristics.
Project Direction Radiation therapy is used to treat more than 50% of all cancers and most brain tumors. Yet, in many cases, therapy is palliative. Radiation dose is limited by normal brain toxicity. We have developed a method (INP-RT) to enhance radiation dose to the tumor cells, not the normal brain. INP-RT also synergies with chemotherapy, which is also marginally effective for most brain tumors. The INPs are very well tolerated and we wish to translate INP-Rt to the clinic where we believe patients will derive significant benefit from our technology.
Mentorship and Supervision Summer 2021 it is anticipated that the PI, a post-doc, and a master’s student will be in the lab. All three will be available to help the summer student. Our lab is open so that regular discussion, feedback, and mentoring will proceed on a daily basis.
Student Qualifications Prior research experience is preferred but not required.
Completion of three years of college is preferred but not required.
A commitment to continue research in the senior year and pursue a senior thesis is preferred.
A strong interest in our research is required as well as a commitment to work hard.
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 24 to July 30, 2021
Schedule: M-F, 9am-5pm
Project Continuation Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Academic Year Time Commitment 9 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, February 1, 2021.

This application requires a cover letter, a resume or CV, an unofficial transcript, a brief statement of research interests, a brief statement of career interests, and contact information for references.