Dissertation Defense Announcement
To:  The George Mason University Community

Candidate: Crystal Propst

Program: PhD in Biosciences

Date:   Wednesday July 15, 2015

Time:   10:00 am

Place:  George Mason University
             Science & Tech (Prince William) Campus<http://www.gmu.edu/resources/welcome/Directions-to-GMU.html>

             Occoquan Bldg., Room 327

Title: "Lung-Directed Delivery of Therapeutics for the Treatment of Pulmonary Francisella Infection"

Committee Chair: Dr. Monique van Hoek

Committee Members:  Dr. Kylene Kehn-Hall, Dr. Calvin Carpenter, Dr. Victor Morozov
A copy of the dissertation is available in the Mercer Library.  All are invited to attend the defense.

According to the World Lung Foundation, acute respiratory infections result in 4.25 million deaths each year, are the third largest cause of mortality worldwide, and are the number one cause of death in low- and middle- income countries. These infections require few infectious particles and tend to be serious, difficult to treat, and spread quickly.  Despite existing treatments, many researchers work on additional therapy options including new drug development, more effective drug combinations, and developing ways to overcome antibacterial resistance.  However, delivery of existing treatments in a novel manner may lead to better therapeutic regimens without the high cost and length of time required for discovery and development of new drugs.

The Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics in Moscow recently developed a new nanoaerosol generator. This study evaluated this novel technology, which has the potential to enhance therapeutic delivery. First, the analysis of quantum dots distribution in cryosections of murine lungs demonstrated that nanoaerosols penetrate the alveoli, the site of lower respiratory infections and entry point to the circulatory system. Second, using a pulmonary Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida infection of BALB/c mice as a model, the generator was used to aerosolize the antibiotic, levofloxacin, and was able to rescue mice more efficiently than traditional delivery methods, including large particle aerosol. In addition, it was found that treatment with nanoaerosols consumes less total volume of therapeutic solutions and is gentler on sprayed material than the aerosolization by a conventional three-jet collision nebulizer.  Nanoaerosols can be produced using numerous types of drugs, not just antibiotics, and should be explored further as treatments for additional forms of respiratory disease.