Natalia Higuita-Castro, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is the lead investigator for one of eleven projects awarded funding to boost research in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her research will use next-generation nanocarriers based on engineered extracellular vesicles (EVs) to deliver anti-inflammatory therapies to lungs injured by the novel coronavirus.
“The gold standard is nature. As an engineer, rather than reinventing the wheel, I try to learn from nature,” she said. “Nature has this amazing method to produce these nanocarriers and what we do in my lab is to use nanotechnology to engineer them to deliver specific molecular cargo to the inflamed lung.”
Higuita-Castro, member of the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute at the Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, is working with her collaborators on a treatment for COVID-19-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a life-threatening condition characterized by severe inflammation and damage of the lungs that can eventually lead to respiratory failure.
Source – Ohio State University