Rajendra N. Mitra, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor

Ocular Gene Therapy and Nanomedicine

Specialty:

Ocular Gene Therapy and Nanomedicine

Education and Training:

Graduate School: University of Burdwan, W.B., India 2003

PhD: Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, W.B., India 2008

Postdoctoral Fellowships: University of Central Florida, 2009-10; University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center 2010-14; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2014-17.

Special Interests:

Fueling developments of new drug and gene therapy strategies for various neurodegenerative conditions and cancer.

Research Goals:

My research interests revolve around engineering the library of next generation advanced therapeutics and innovative platform technologies in “basic” and “translational” research, which can improve vision and prevent blindness by protecting retinal cell deaths from neurodegenerative conditions. The goal of these strategies is to confirm the potentiality of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to manage neurodegenerations.

My research is also directed toward the evaluation of potential translational strategies to early diagnosis, and targeted therapeutic approaches to reduce the proliferation and metastasis of intraocular tumor (retinoblastoma). The ultimate objective of this therapeutic exploration is to provide alternative strategies in treating retinoblastoma as well improve the vision of retinoblastoma patients in near future.

Neovascularization is an important hallmark of neuronal degeneration in the retina such as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, wet-age related macular degeneration, and cancer. Therefore, developments of new therapeutics to target retinal and chordal vascular dysfunction is an unmet need. My research goal is to develop targeted therapeutics that can reduce complications, like retinal hemorrhages, detachments or atrophy associated

with current standard of care, (i.e. use global angiogenic inhibitors) and improve the treatment paradigm for these disorders.

Targeted therapeutics, the next generation therapeutics, will encompass small molecule drugs, genes, non-coding RNAs, proteins and other theragonistics. These strategies may provide best cure and alternative approaches in treating eye disorders to clinic. To accomplish the development of new alternative therapeutic regimens to protect cells from retinal neurodegenerations, and prevent vision loss, the following points need to be considered:

· Improving present traditional drug delivery and exploring new drug delivery carriers in fueling the next generation of safe and efficient vectors to overcome multiple biological barriers in the eye. Examining several novel platform technologies, based on biodegradable biopolymer, synthetic polymers and polypeptides, will be explored and evaluated in detail.

· The new strategies will be screened for their effectiveness and safety in different in vitro, ex-vivo, and in vivo models to best emulate human diseases. The intracellular trafficking modes and target biology will be evaluated. The cost effectiveness and scalability will also be considered for the clinical development of these potential future therapeutics.