• The University of Western Australia (M519), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

Associate Professor Juliana Hamzah is the Cancer Council WA Research Fellow, Head of Laboratory Targeted Drug Delivery, Imaging and Therapy at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. She has over 13 years of research experience in developing targeted delivery technology platforms for imaging and treating diseases including cancer and atherosclerosis. Following the completion of her PhD in 2005, Juliana did her first postdoctoral training at WA Institute of Medical Research (2006-2009) with Professor Ruth Ganss on developing therapies against cancer angiogenesis. She was then recruited to join the Program of Excellence in Nanotechnology at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, California, USA, under the prestigious American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009-2012). As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Erkki Ruoslahti, she gained expertise in engineering theranostic agents. Juliana returned to Perth in 2013 as a NHMRC/National Heart Foundation R.D. Wright Biomedical Fellow and established her research team at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.

Research

Juliana’s current research focuses on developing strategies to specifically target diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis for diagnostic imaging and local therapeutic interventions.

  • Cancer and cardiovascular disease
  • Inflammatory vasculature, macrophages and extracellular matrix
  • Tissue homing peptides and targeted delivery
  • In vivo imaging
  • Targeted therapy
  • Nanotechnology

Current projects

A major challenge to detect and treat chronic inflammatory diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis (i.e. hardening of the arteries due to fat accumulation) is to effectively deliver contrast agents and therapeutics into the pathological tissues whilst avoiding off-target binding and consequent cytotoxic effects. Our team focuses on developing tools and strategies to target the microenvironment of cancers (i.e. breast carcinoma, insulinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma) and atherosclerotic plaques for imaging and therapy. We have recently characterised a number of small molecules (i.e. peptides) that specifically bind to the abnormal cellular and non-cellular components in cancers and atherosclerotic lesions, including blood vessels, macrophages and extracellular matrix. These tumour and plaque –specific peptides can then be used as a drug delivery agent. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research expertise keywords

  • Macrophages in cancer and atherosclerosis
  • Inflammatory vasculature and extracellular matrix
  • Targeted therapy
  • Tissue homing peptides and drug delivery
  • In vivo imaging

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