Gagandeep Kaur

Gagandeep Kaur

Biomaterial Researcher

Gagandeep Kaur is a biomaterial researcher and educator who has expertise in working on interdisciplinary fields especially on the edge of chemistry and biology. She is passionate about engineering new biomaterials with ability to change course line for healthcare and biomedical field. Strong leadership skills, work ethics and will power be strong points in her personality. She is a good communicator, friendly and great team player for any interdisciplinary research institute. Her goal is to establish a lab which focuses on innovations in healthcare and biomedical field.

  • Hello Bio

    Hello Bio

    Gagandeep Kaur of @TAMUmedicine, USA, is nominated in the #LabHeroes21 awards! 🏆 @gakaur was praised for her patience, generosity, kindness & support in the lab. 👩‍🔬 Nominations close on 8th Dec so don't delay! Tell us about your lab hero today:

  • Londyn Robinson, MD

    Londyn Robinson, MD

    I lost my mentor. Pat Carlson, who as a rheum study coordinator hired me at 17 yo when I came from rural small town, who signed me up for mcat, who gave me $ for apps when I couldn’t afford secondaries, cried on my wedding and divorce day. 1/2

  • Jen Heemstra

    Jen Heemstra

    The goal is growth, not perfection.

  • Daniel Ferris

    Daniel Ferris

    PI tip of the day: The further you get in your career, the more you appreciate the successes of your former trainees (undergrads/grad students/postdocs) in their careers, both in industry and in academia. Mentor them well. They are not just lab staff, they are your legacy.

  • Jen Heemstra

    Jen Heemstra

    If you’re in a position of power, stop saying “that’s just how things are” and start asking “how do we actually want things to be?” Then, work to make that happen.

  • Kimberly D. Manning, MD

    Kimberly D. Manning, MD

    I’m just saying.

10Years Experience of Research.

Gagandeep Kaur is a postdoctoral research associate at the college of medicine, Texas A & M Health Science Center, College Station. Dr. Kaur has strong expertise in engineering biomaterial-based platforms for drug delivery and biomedical applications. As a part of her postdoctoral training, she is currently working on stem cell derived exosomes for the treatment of uveitis disease. She has established smart polymer-based biomaterials for enhanced drug delivery of various drug molecules. Dr. Kaur received her Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur), India. Her research involved engineering self-assembling peptides for various application in material science, biological sciences, nanoscience and nanotechnology. Her research has established peptide/polymer biomaterial-based mats to detect cancer cells.

Post Doctorate Research

  • Molecular and Cellular Medicine Department, College of Medicine, Texas A&M University-College Station

    My current postdoctoral research focused on exploring the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) in prevention of the autoimmune diseases onset as well as halting immune responses before irreversible damage has occurred. I am leading the project which involves development of a therapeutic potential for an experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) for C57BL/6 and B10.RIII mice model.

    Comprehensive Molecular Profiles of Functionally Effective MSC-Derived Extracellular Vesicles in Immunomodulation

    Accumulating evidence indicates that mesenchymal stem/stromal cell-derived extracellular vesicles (MSC-EVs) exhibit immunomodulatory effects by delivering therapeutic RNAs and proteins; however, the molecular mechanism underlying the EV-mediated immunomodulation is not fully understood. In this study, we found that EVs from early-passage MSCs had better immunomodulatory potency than did EVs from late-passage MSCs in T cell receptor (TCR)- or Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-stimulated splenocytes and in mice with ocular Sjögren’s syndrome. Our comparative strategy identified TGF-β1, PTX3, let-7b-5p, or miR-21-5p as key molecules mediating the therapeutic effects of MSC-EVs in autoimmune disease.

    Identification of Molecules Responsible for Therapeutic Effects of Extracellular Vesicles Produced from iPSC-derived MSCs on Sjögren’s Syndrome

    Recent research indicated that extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are a promising alternative to MSCs for immunomodulatory therapy. However, the contents of MSC-EVs would change as their parent MSCs change, hence the therapeutic efficacy of MSC-derived EVs (MSC-EVs) would largely depend on donors, tissue sources and culture conditions of MSCs. To overcome limitations of tissue-derived MSCs, we previously used MSCs derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iMSCs) to produce EVs and demonstrated their therapeutic potential in a mouse model of secondary Sjo?gren’s Syndrome. Here, we further found that EVs from early-passage iMSCs had better immunomodulatory potency than EVs from late-passage iMSCs in TLR4-stimulated splenocytes and in a mouse model of primary Sjögren’s syndrome. Comparative molecular profiling using proteomics and microRNA sequencing revealed distinctive molecular profiles of iMSC-EVs with or without immunomodulation capacity. Amongst them, manipulation of TGF-β1, miR-21 and miR-125b levels in iMSC-EVs significantly affected their immunosuppressive effects. These findings would help improve our understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying iMSC-EV-mediated immunomodulation and further provide strategies to improve regulatory function of EVs for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases.

  • Pharmaceutical Department, College of Pharmacy, Texas A&M University-College Station

    My Postdoctoral research involved the design and synthesis of smart polymer nanoparticles for oral drug delivery applications for autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, diabetic retinopathy and lupus.

    Double-headed nanosystems for oral drug delivery

    We demonstrate a novel strategy to engineer double-headed nanosystems by chemical modification of the carboxyl terminal polyester with a linker that offers tripodal arrangement of ligands on the particle surfaces. The in vivo results suggest that the bioavailability of encapsulated curcumin is proportional to the ligand density rendered by double-headed nanosystems.

    Oral Drug Delivery Technologies—A Decade of Developments

    Advanced drug delivery technologies, in general, enable drug reformulation and administration routes, together contributing to life-cycle management and allowing the innovator to maintain the product monopoly. Over the years, there has been a steady shift from mere life-cycle management to drug repurposing—applying delivery technologies to tackle solubility and permeability issues in early stages or safety and efficacy issues in the late stages of drug discovery processes. While the drug and the disease in question primarily drive the choice of route of administration, the oral route, for its compliance and safety attributes, is the most preferred route, particularly when it comes to chronic conditions, including pain, which is not considered a disease but a symptom of a primary cause. Therefore, the attempt of this review is to take a stock of the advances in oral delivery technologies that are applicable for injectable to oral transformation, improve risk-benefit profiles of existing orals, and apply them in the early discovery program to minimize the drug attrition rates.

    Next-Generation Noncompetitive Nanosystems Based on Gambogic Acid: In Silico Identification of Transferrin Receptor Binding Sites, Regulatory Shelf Stability, and Their Preliminary Safety in Healthy Rodents

    A major challenge in drug delivery is to enhance the transport of drugs across biological barriers, such as the small intestine, the blood–brain barrier, and the blood–retinal/ocular barrier, and to effectively reach the site of action while minimizing the systemic impact. In recent years, piggybacking cell surface receptors have been considered a viable strategy for active drug delivery across the biological barriers. However, the ligands used to target drugs to plasma membrane receptors often have to compete against endogenous ligands, thereby limiting their binding to the cell surface and their transport across barriers. To address this problem, gambogic acid (GA) was identified as a noncompetitive ligand specific to the transferrin receptor (TfR), a receptor present on various barriers. However, the binding sites of the GA on TfR remain unknown, an essential step toward establishing structure–activity relationships. In silico binding site prediction tools, blind docking, and molecular docking simulation confirm that the GA binding site on the TfR is independent of the transferrin-bound iron binding sites. The GA-conjugated polyesters were processed into nanoparticles suitable for drug delivery applications that possess excellent storage stability under regulatory conditions.

  • Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

    My research involved the design and synthesis of peptide based self-assembling magnetic nanomotors and polymer nanofiber for biological applications.

    Spin Coating Mediated Morphology Modulation in Self Assembly of Peptides

    Controlling the morphology and nanostructure of self-assembled peptide molecules is of fundamental importance to chemistry and material science due to their bioactivity in both in vivo and in vitro settings, ability to act as templates for conjugating bio-recognition elements, hybrid supramolecular assembly, possible detection and treatment of diseases and so on. In this article, we show that spin coating, a widely utilized method for obtaining ultra-thin polymer films, has been utilised to modulate the self-assembly of peptide molecules, which has traditionally been achieved by chemical functionalisation of the molecules. With the specific example of diphenylalanine-based peptide molecules, we show that a variety of self-assembled architectures such as long fibrils, short fibrils, globules, nanodots, and so on, spanning over large areas can be obtained by simultaneously varying the spinning speed (RPM) and the solution concentration (Cp) during spin coating. We correlate the variation in morphology to a transition from spin dewetting at very low Cp (or high RPM) to the formation of continuous films at high Cp (or low RPM) during the initial stage of spin coating. We further show the generality of the approach by achieving distinct self-assembled morphologies with diphenylalanine analogues with different C-terminal and N-terminal groups by modulation of spin coating parameters, though the exact morphology obtained under identical coating conditions depends on the chemical nature of the peptide molecules. The work opens up a new possible route for creating complex peptide assemblies on demand by simultaneous control of molecular functionalisation and spin coating parameters vis – a – vis the applied centrifugal force.

Doctorate Research

  • Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

    My Doctoral research involved the designing and developing synthetic functional materials composed of people units and polymers, self-assembly and utilization for diverse applications in biological, material sciences, and nanotechnology with following projects:

    Folic acid based self-assembling peptide for drug delivery applications.

    Folic acid (FA) is a low‐molecular‐weight micronutrient, which plays a critical role in the prevention of birth defects and cancers. It is also essential for biochemical pathways responsible for DNA synthesis and maintenance and for the generation of new red blood cells. Cellular trafficking of FA and folate is based on its high‐affinity binding to cognate folate receptor, a protein commonly expressed in several human cancers. Thus, folate conjugates of drugs, plasmids, biosensors, contrast, and radio diagnostic imaging agents have been used for assisted delivery in folate receptor‐positive cancer cells, via endocytosis pathways. This report describes morphologies of soft structures from a fully characterized FA–dipeptide conjugate and detailed mechanistic studies of its cancer cell uptake, as tracked by the inherent fluorescence of the conjugate.

    Peptide-polymer nano-mats for cancer cell detection.

    Electrospun polymer fibers are valuable for a number of applications ranging from catalysis to drug delivery. At times, lack of biocompatibility, biodegradability, and hydrophobicity presents hindrance in their use in biological applications. Aromatic amino acids are veritable precursors for biocompatible nanofibers, which could also be chemically modified with suitable addressable recognition tags to invoke specific binding events. This study presents an attractive strategy for constructing electrospun fibrous mats from dityrosine folic acid conjugate and polycaprolactone to afford a new biomaterial displaying excellent tensile properties, biocompatibility, and cell adhesion. We demonstrate that appropriate choice of peptide-to-polymer ratio gave mats with sufficient hydrophilic and better mechanical properties and allowed favorable interaction of folate receptor presenting cells with electrospun mats, while the ones lacking folate receptor did not exhibit binding. Such selectivity could be possibly invoked for separation and also for custom synthesis of nanomats for healthcare applications.

    Design and synthesis of small self-assembling peptides for supercapacitor material applications.

    Folic acid conjugated peptide explored for self-assembled behavior with architecture morphology similar to graphene sheets and studied for their electrochemical capacitive performance for application in energy storage field.

    Small self-assembling L-phenylalanine based peptides for metal-peptide frameworks (MPF) for catalytic application.

    Peptides and proteins offer interesting starting points for triggering self-assembly processes owing to the chemical diversity of side-chains, ease of chemical modifications and the possibility of exploiting several non-covalent and metal-assisted interactions, to stabilize higher order ensembles. Consequently, a variety of nanoscale morphologies such as fibers, vesicles, nanotubes are observed for modified amino acids and short peptides and these biocompatible soft materials have been used for diverse biological, medical and material applications. Herein, we report metal-mediated modification of spherical soft assemblies, by introducing a coordinating linker for the Phe–Phe dipeptide, which results in the coalescence of soft structures. The possibility of copper ion coordination, with the metal-binding peptide conjugate, was confirmed by single crystal analysis. Based on these observations, a model depicting possible interactions leading to soft structure formation and metal-aided coalescence is also presented. The coalescence could be reversed in the case of Au-mediated soft structures with the help of thiol interference. Such an approach, exploiting interfacial metal ion interactions, is expected to provide an entry into novel metallopeptide materials.

    Design and synthesis of covalent organic framework for material science applications such as gas storage material and catalysis.

    Covalent organic framework (COP) has been synthesized and explored for various applications such as gas storage materials and catalysis.

    Thesis: Ordered Peptide-based Assemblies as Functional Materials

    My doctoral research involved the design and implementation of synthetic self-assembling biomaterials composed of small peptides and polymers, their utilization in biology and nanotechnology applications.

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