Mariam Ahmed

MIT Department: Chemical Engineering

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, San Diego

Faculty Mentor: Paula Hammond

Research Supervisors: Natalie Boehnke

Website: LinkedIn

2018 Research Poster


My name is Mariam Ahmed, I am from Somalia but was raised in Syria. I am currently 5th year Chemical engineering student.  I am interested in the intersection between medicine and engineering in particular cancer therapeutics, and I am really lucky to be doing that in Prof. Paula Hammond’s lab. My only hobby I enjoy the most lately has been sleeping.

2018 Research Abstract

Passive Encapsulation of RSL3 inside a layer-by-layer modified PLGA Nano-particle

M.A. Ahmed1, N. Boehnke2, A. Barberio2, 3, and P.T Hammond2, 3

1Department of NanoEngineering, University of California, San Diego

2Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 Ferroptosis is a recently discovered iron-dependent type of regulated cell death that is distinct from apoptosis. This allows for the utilization of small molecules drugs, such as RSL3, to induce non-apoptotic cell death via ferroptosis activation. However, significant toxicity is a limiting issue for RSL3. This can be mitigated through the encapsulation in biodegradable nanoparticle drug delivery systems as well as through incorporation of tumor targeting ligands, which can significantly reduce toxicity and increase circulation time in vivo. In this study RSL3 was passively loaded into a biodegradable poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticle core, and layered with stabilizing polyelectrolyte coatings. Preliminary in vitro studies in ovarian cancer cells (OVCAR8) have shown that RSL3-loaded PLGA nanoparticles result in a significant decrease of required drug dosage. This sustained lethality at lower dosages demonstrates the utility of this nanoparticle-based approach. Additionally, it was demonstrated that RSL3-loaded nanoparticles are good substrates for polyelectrolyte layering, as shown here using poly-L-arginine (PLR)