Nancy Hazem Mohammad Mohammad

Nancy Hazem Mohammad Mohammad

PGSB Fellow
AL-Quds University 

Specialization:  Biophysics

Accurate Specialization: Biophysics

Palestinian supervisor: Dr. Sawsan Abusharkh

Palestinian Supervisor affiliation: Physiology & Pharmacology Department, Medicine Faculty, AL-Quds University 

Degree aims: MSc

FZJ Supervisor: Agnes Csiszar

Center in FZJ: Institute of Biological Information Processing (IBI-2)

Affiliated University in Germany: Forschungszentrum Julich GmbH

Title of Research: Elucidating the molecular interaction of blood serum proteins as a carrier of fusogenic liposomes using advanced spectroscopic techniques.

Research Purpose: The discovery of liposomes and their identification as a carrier of drugs called the attention of scientists and industry. Lipid vesicles, called liposomes, are widely used for this purpose based on their low toxicity, lack of immunogenicity, and biodegradability. The main drawback of such liposomes is that their cellular uptake shows a strong preference of endocytotic uptake over fusion, however the more promising alternative for efficient molecular delivery is the induction of membrane fusion between liposomes and mammalian cells. Moreover, molecular delivery by fusion completely bypasses endosomes, therefore avoiding immediate degradation of the cargo. For this reason, liposomes with highly fusogenic character, so-called fusogenic liposomes (FLs) were successfully developed at the research center of Jülich.
Our working hypothesis is, that FLs injected into the bloodstream interact with blood serum proteins endowing the particles with new biological identities. The investigation and characterization of the new particles is essential for their future medical applications. 
The main goal of this work is to identify the molecular interactions, structural and functional properties of the blood serum as a carrier for fusogenic liposomes. To achieve our goal, FT-IR, UV- VIS, and fluorescens spectroscopy have been chosen as investigation techniques. 

Aims of the research: Our working hypothesis is, that Fusogenic liposomes injected into the bloodstream interact with blood serum proteins building temporary complexes and preventing undesirable fusion. Therefore, the first aim of this work is to identify the main molecular interactions, structural and functional properties of the blood serum as a carrier for fusogenic liposomes. The second aim of the project is the elucidation of the kinetics of the interactions between the carrier (blood protein) and the developed fusogenic liposomes based on the obtained physicochemical properties of the blood protein-liposomes complexes. 
FT-IR spectroscopy, UV-VIS absorption spectroscopy, fluorescens spectroscopy and their advanced derivative methods will be employed here. FT-IR technique will be used to investigate the effect of fusogenic liposomes on blood protein conformation on the secondary structural level at different physiological conditions such as temperature salt concentration or pH. Moreover, UV-VIS and fluorescence spectroscopy will be used to determine the binding sites, the type of the formed bonds, and the binding constants of the complexes.
Research Cluster: Nano-Science Research Cluster

Role in the research Cluster: Analysis of Fusogenic liposomes-serum protein interactions using light spectroscopy