Dr Jorge Tolosa

Dr Jorge Tolosa
Research Program:
Research Topics:

What are your research interests?

  • Development of targeted nanoparticles for specific delivery of therapeutics to ovarian, thyroid and parathyroid cancer cells.
  • None of the therapeutic nanoparticles currently used to treat ovarian, thyroid and parathyroid cancer are targeted. Targeted drug delivery is regarded as the ‘holy grail’ of medicine, as achieving targeted drug delivery to diseased tissue reduces the prevalence and severity of off-target side effects and increases the therapeutic effect, which are significant benefits for the patient.
  • Overcoming physiological barriers to improve the delivery of targeted therapeutic nanoparticles to ovarian, thyroid and parathyroid cancer cells.
  • Most of the circulating nanoparticles in the blood stream are taken up by the liver, spleen and kidneys. Developing strategies to avoid this will increase the accumulation of nanoparticles at the tumour site and improve cancer treatments.
  • Understanding the mechanisms involved in the receptor-mediated active transport of nanoparticles (endothelial transcytosis) for specific extravasation and accumulation of nanoparticles at the tumour site to improve treatment of ovarian and thyroid cancer.

Why did you get into research? 

When I was in primary school, in year 5, I had a wonderful Natural Sciences teacher who introduced me to the fascinating world of scientific research. That year I started to get involved in the school's Scientific Academy and we participated in a regional science competition for students and we won first prize. As a 10-year-old boy, this was amazing and a life changing experience. When I finished high school, I went directly to university to study biology. I then completed a Master in Sciences (Reproductive Biology) and a PhD in Reproductive Medicine.

What is your goal for research? 

As a biomedical researcher my goal is to contribute in the field of nanomedicine in a meaningful way. The use of targeted nanoparticles represents a versatile platform that can be used to deliver different molecules, such as peptides, proteins, drugs (hydrophilic and/or lipophilic), antisense oligonucleotides, dyes and siRNAs for the diagnosis and treatment of different cancers and other diseases. To overcome the physiological barriers to improve the delivery of targeted therapeutic nanoparticles to cancer cells and save lives is my ultimate goal.

Biography

Dr Jorge Tolosa was awarded a University of Newcastle Postgraduate Research Scholarship as well as an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship in order to complete PhD studies in Australia. He completed his PhD in Reproductive Medicine with the University of Newcastle, under the leadership of Laureate Professor Roger Smith AM.

Dr Tolosa now researches with the Mothers and Babies Research Centre (MBRC), located at the HMRI Building. He started his research at MBRC elucidating the mechanisms involved in immune tolerance during pregnancy, in particular, studying the role of placental exosomes and retroviral proteins in mediating the susceptibility of pregnant women to influenza infection. He was part of a team that has contributed to identifying a potential target that could be utilised to improve maternal and fetal outcomes globally during both seasonal and pandemic influenza, as well as other viral and bacterial infections. Concepts and data generated by Dr Tolosa have served as the basis for successful NHMRC project grants, which together have brought in over $1.3 million in funding for the University of Newcastle.

For the last 4 years Dr Tolosa is part of a team that has developed the world’s first targeted drug delivery system for the pregnant uterus using nanoparticles coated with antibodies to the oxytocin receptor. Now Dr Tolosa has adapted these nanoparticles to create a new targeted drug delivery strategy that overcomes the physiological barriers for the delivery of targeted therapeutic nanoparticles to ovarian cancer cells, using nanoparticles that have been coated with peptide ligands for the LH and FSH receptors that are found on the majority of ovarian cancer cells.

Dr Tolosa has published peer-reviewed articles in the field and has presented at many prestigious national and international conferences. He is co-author of a book chapter, titled "Mechanisms of Maternal Immune Tolerance During Pregnancy", which was published in 2012 and has been downloaded more than 7,000 times (Recent Advances in Research on the Human Placenta, ISBN 978-953-51-0194-9, edited by Jing Zheng).

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Microfluidic mixing technology for nanoparticles manufacturing
  • Dynamic light scattering for sizing nanoparticles
  • Cellular biology
  • Cell and tissue explant culture
  • Immunocytochemistry/immunofluorescence
  • Video microscopy and digital image analysis
  • Protein analysis (1D & 2D PAGE, western blot)
  • Recombinant protein production and purification using affinity and size exclusion chromatography
  • Polyclonal antibody production
  • Enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA)
  • Tissue preparation for histological studies, including microtome and cryosectioning

Affiliations

  • Mothers and Babies Research Centre
  • Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science (UoN)
  • Hunter Medical Research Institute
  • University of Newcastle

Dr. Tolosa is also an active reviewer for the peer-reviewed scientific journals;

  • Biology of Reproduction
  • Placenta
  • Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
  • BioMed Research International