Min-Ho Kim Lab:Research

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Research Projects

Targeted magnetothermal stimulation of brain for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting millions of people around the world and the first cause of dementia. Despite extensive research efforts, currently there are no effective treatment options for the disease. Amyloid plaques are pathological hallmarks of AD, agglomerations of misfolded proteins that accumulate in the brain. In a healthy brain, these proteins are broken down and eliminated, however, in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients, amyloid plaques clump together between the nerve cells, disrupting neurons and resulting in the progressive cognitive impairment. Our goal is to tackle this issue by applying a minimally invasive non-pharmacological strategy that stimulates brain with high frequency electromagnetic field combined with magnetic nanoparticles. The principal of this approach is to translate the energy of electromagnetic field into mild thermal energy using magnetic nanoparticles as a transducer. The thermal energy can be tuned to impose a thermo-mechanical effect on amyloid plaques as well as trigger biological signal on brain cells towards the clearance of amyloid plaques with higher target specificity.

Nanoparticle-based strategies to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a huge threat to public health worldwide as bacterial strains continuously evolve to develop resistance to multiple antibiotics, which renders the treatment of multidrug resistant (MDR) bacteria an immediate and formidable challenge. Consequently, there is an urgent need to develop new or non-traditional anti-infective agents that attack a new target with new mechanisms of action. To address this, we are developing novel metal-based nanoparticles (Bi2O3 NP, Fe3O4 NP, Al2O3 NP) as antimicrobial agents by tuning their unique physicochemical properties towards exerting potent antibacterial effects with new modes of action as well as substantially delaying resistance development.

Nanoparticle-integrated scaffolds for wound healing

Wound healing is a complex and dynamic process that involves interactions between different cellular components and mediators. A major pathological aspect of non-healing wounds such as diabetic wounds or burn wounds is characterized by wound infection recalcitrant to traditional antibiotics as well as reduced ability to induce angiogenesis, new blood vessel formation. In view of this, they have been major therapeutic targets for creating new treatments for non-healing wounds. Thus far, each of the above aspects has been separately investigated to a great extent, and many advances have been made in the past decades in each area. However, an integrated approach to simultaneous addressing these issues in a single drug delivery platform has yet to emerge. Our goal is to develop copper nanoparticle-based wound scaffolds that can simultaneously confer the scaffold with anti-infection as well as pro-angiogenic properties by means of harnessing the diverse function of copper, an essential metal for life, on bacteria as well as on human cells.

Funding Sources