Fellow: Kim To, PhD


Principal Investigator: J. Brandon Dixon, PhD

Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology

LF Funding History: 2017 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that targeted nanoparticle-based delivery of calcium channel activators to lymphatics will result in enhanced lymphatic pump function and a reduction in the local adipose tissue volume, while minimizing unwanted off-target effects to the blood circulation.

Collaborative Opportunities:
Our lab has developed several engineering technologies for quantitatively assessing lymphatic function in vivo, for testing lymphatic biomechanics, for predicting the effects of lymphatic phenotypes on lymphatic network dysfunction through computational modeling, for delivering therapeutics to lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes, and for supporting collecting vessel lymphangiogenic sprouting in 3D hydrogels. We enjoy collaborating with basic scientists and clinicians to apply these approaches to reveal novel insight into human pathophysiology, and mechanistic insight into the underpinnings of post-natal lymphatic dysfunction in KO mice.

Related Links: Dixon Lab


Project: Activating Calcium Channels to Improve Lymphatic Function in vivo, Using Nanotechnology as a Therapeutic to Ameliorate Local Adipose Deposition

This project aims to develop a drug delivery strategy to enhance in vivo function of lymphatic vessels as a means of reducing localized lipid accumulation in lipedema. This will be achieved by designing drug: delivery approaches to stimulate lymphatic smooth muscle activity via calcium signaling, thereby enhancing its contractile function.

Our long-term goal for the research is that it will serve as a bridge between mechanistic knowledge of lymphatic vessel function and the pharmaceutical application of this knowledge towards targeting the lymphatic system and its surroundings, e.g. interstitium, connective tissue and fat tissue. If successful, this will improve human health by supporting treatment of lymphatic-related diseases, such as lymphedema, lymphatic-related obesity and lipedema.

Working hypothesis: Targeting contractility of collecting lymphatic vessels in vivo by injecting nanoparticles loaded with L-type calcium channel activator will improve local lymph drainage and control adipose tissue deposition. BayK, L-type calcium channel activator; CLV, collecting lymphatic vessels; LN, lymph node; NP, nanoparticle.


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