Since 2014, the European Research Council (ERC) has been funding Olivia Merkel, Professor of Drug Delivery in the Department of Pharmacy at LMU, by a prestigious Starting Grant. In her ERC project “Novel Asthma Therapy,” the pharmacist focuses on the development of novel nano delivery systems for better asthma therapies. Her principal focus is on the therapeutic application of short RNA segments (siRNAs) that are able to silence the genes involved in pathogenesis in certain cell types. She has managed to develop RNA nanocarriers that can be stabilized by means of spray-drying, producing a dry powder. The goal is to interrupt several immune cascades in asthma.
Now, the pharmacist has been awarded a Proof of Concept Grant to build on this work. In her new project “RNhale” she wants to advance the targeted application of the powder through inhalation and improve the storage and transport conditions by optimizing the spray-drying protocols. The project aims to develop a platform technology with the long-term goal of concluding licensing agreements with pharmaceutical companies for large-scale implementation.
Olivia Merkel is Principal Investigator at the DZL site Munich (CPC-M) Since October 2015, she has been a professor at LMU.