Effective Drug Delivery Topic for Hybrid Oxford Science Cafe

Biochemistry professor to discuss potential for ionic liquids to target therapies

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi professor will discuss the effective delivery of drugs during the first Oxford Science Cafe of the fall semester.

The talk is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 20) at Heartbreak Coffee’s downtown location. The event also will be broadcast over Zoom.

Eden Tanner, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, will discuss “Hitching a Ride for Effective Drug Delivery.”

Eden Tanner, a chemistry professor who is studying ways to improve the delivery of drugs where they are needed in the body, will discuss her work during the first Oxford Science Cafe of the fall. Submitted photo

“Imagine if only 1 percent of your text messages got sent to the right person,” Tanner said. “This is the reality for almost all nanoparticles used for drug delivery, and especially for treating cancer.

“At this rate, you’d need to give someone a trillion nanoparticles to see any effect, which is not practical or healthy in a person.”

Tanner’s lab uses materials called ionic liquids – salts that are liquid at room temperature – as a nanoparticle GPS to make sure they get to exactly where they’re needed in the body.

“The ionic liquids are selectively attracted to different kinds of blood components like red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets,” she said. “This results in them hitching a ride on the blood cells, letting the cells do all the hard work.”

During Tanner’s 40-minute talk, she will also address how about half the particles will make it to the brain by hitching a ride on red blood cells.

“This could revolutionize medicine by allowing us to effectively and selectively deliver drugs to treat brain cancer, Alzheimer’s, depression and many other diseases,” Tanner said.

Lorena Magana Zertuche, coordinator of the Science Cafe, said Tanner’s presentation is timely.

“We cannot wait to hear more about this novel method of drug delivery that Dr. Eden Tanner is using in her research,” she said.

To view the Oxford Science Cafe, visit https://olemiss.zoom.us/j/99989536748. A link to the recorded talk and more information on the monthly series will be posted at https://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe/.