Dion specialises in targeted drug delivery: lipid-based nanoparticles and nucleic acid delivery

Dion's research focuses on developing lipid-based delivery system for messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics, an emerging class of therapeutics since the recent advances in mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. However, delivering mRNA to the targeted site remains challenging due to the in vivo instability and immunogenicity of mRNA. Therefore, Dion investigates new low-fouling polymer-lipid conjugates incorporating into lipid-based nanoparticles (LNPs) to increase the in vivo stability and prolong the circulation time of mRNA to afford passive targeting for therapeutic applications.

Dion earned her Master of Molecular Imaging Technology at Centre for Advance Imaging (CAI) from the University of Queensland in 2021. She started her research journey from being a summer research scholar in Thurecht group during her master's degree, investigating the association between polymeric micelles and bispecific antibodies. Then, she completed her master research focused on specific nanomedicine delivery using pre-targeting approach under the supervision of Dr Nick Fletcher. In the same year, she commenced her PhD at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), and currently under the supervision of Prof Andrew Whittaker and Dr Nick Fletcher, developing lipid-based nanoparticles (LNPs) for mRNA delivery.

Key Publications

Fletcher, N. L., Prior, A., Choy, O., Humphries, J., Huda, P., Ghosh, S., Houston, Z. H., Bell, C. A. & Thurecht, K. J. Pre-targeting of polymeric nanomaterials to balance tumour accumulation and clearance. Chemical Communications. 2022, 58, 7912-7915. DOI: 10.1039/d2cc02443h.