Ioannis Zervantonakis, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Harvard Medical School
“Tumor microenvironment engineering: microfluidics, systems biology and localized drug release to study cancer progression and drug resistance"
The tumor microenvironment plays a key role in regulating growth, metastasis and drug resistance. Understanding cell behavior in native tumor microenvironments and developing new strategies to deliver therapeutics directly to tumor cells are critical in improving and extending patients’ lives. Integrating novel experimental tools, such as microfluidics and localized release platforms with systems biology offers a bioengineering framework to model, measure and manipulate the interactions of cancer cells with their environment and to provide new insights into underlying biological mechanisms and cancer therapies.
In this talk, I will present an array of microfluidic platforms that I developed to study the effects of microenvironmental factors on tumor metastasis. I will then present a systems biology framework to study how cancer cells adapt to therapy using proteomics, drug screening and in vivo patient-derived xenografts. By employing data-driven computational modeling, I analyzed relationships between apoptotic signaling and drug sensitivity, and identified predictive biomarkers that can be used in translational studies. Finally, I will present an acoustofluidic system for drug transport and treatment response monitoring during localized drug release.
Ioannis received his Ph.D. (2012) from MIT, his M.S. (2006) from the Technical University of Munich and his B.S. (2005) from the National Technical University in Athens. Ioannis is a recipient of a 2014 DoD Postdoctoral Fellowship and a 2017 NCI Pathway to Independence K99/R00 award. Using a combination of microfluidics and systems biology, his research focuses on understanding cell behavior in complex environments in the areas of cancer metastasis and drug resistance.