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Bioelectrics procedures that allow the precise delivery of drugs or genes through the membrane walls of individual cells have received a new, fundamental boost from researchers associated with Old Dominion University and the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics.

Gene Therapy Weekly and NewsRx.com took note in early November of recent advances in electroporative transport model development reported by a team led by Ravindra Joshi, ODU professor of electrical and computer engineering and a Reidy Center researcher.

The Joshi article-"Microscopic calculations of local lipid membrane permittivities and diffusion coefficients for application to electroporation analyses"-appeared in late summer in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

Karl Schoenbach, director of the Reidy Center and Batten Endowed Chair in Bioelectrics Engineering, elevated ODU to the top ranks of bioelectrics research during the last decade. The field, essentially, involves the interaction of electric fields with biological systems, and one of the most promising avenues uses the fields to penetrate cell membranes to allow delivery of drugs or genes.

Joshi and his colleagues now have refined the calculations that can be employed to model this electroporation process. "Membrane transport in this context of poration is often based on continuum approaches utilizing macroscopic parameters," the authors note. "Here, a molecular dynamics scheme is used for a more rigorous and physically realistic evaluation."

"This modeling work in Dr. Joshi's group is truly cutting-edge," said Schoenbach. "This is documented by his success in placing his manuscripts into prestigious journals. We are fortunate to have him and his team working on topics that complement our experimental work at the Reidy Center. The synergistic effect between experimentalists and modelers working together in bioelectrics is absolutely essential for success in this new field of research."

Co-authors with Joshi of the recent article are Schoenbach and Viswanadham Sridhara, a doctoral student in ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology. The Reidy Center is a joint operation of ODU and Eastern Virginia Medical School.

This article was posted on: November 10, 2006

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