Student Short Biography:
Dr. Andima Moses (PhD) is a natural products Chemist. His research focuses on the isolation and characterization of natural products towards treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases. He employs the use of nanoparticle drug delivery systems in an effort to enhance therapeutic efficacy of natural products. To better understand the interaction of natural products with molecular targets in cancer disease process, he employs in silico molecular docking and molecular simulation approaches. Currently, he is working as a lecturer at the department of chemistry in Busitema University in Uganda. In an effort to ensure sustainable utilization of natural resources, he recently received a small research grant from Busitema University to explore endophytic organisms to synthesize natural products to treat neglected tropical diseases. He is a co-principal investigator of a government of Uganda funded project awarded to Busitema University natural products and drug research group that is aimed at rational development of a herbal product(s) for management of COVID-19. While at the University of Nairobi, He mentored two undergraduate students through supervision of their research projects. He has also supervised several undergraduate research projects in Busitema University. He is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (621221), Natural Products Research Network for Eastern and Central Africa (NAPRECA).
Thesis / Project Title: Natural Product-Loaded Nanoparticles For Cancer Therapy: Formulation, Characterization, In Silico And Cellular Studies
Thesis / Project Abstract:
Cancer is a debilitating disease affecting people of all walks of life. Conventional treatments for cancer exist, but they present serious side effects to patients thus highlighting the need for alternative therapies or reengineering of existing therapies. In this study, the anticancer potential of natural products from four plant species was investigated. The use of nanoparticle drug delivery systems to enhance anticancer activity of β-sitosterol as a model natural product was also investigated. Twenty five compounds were isolated from four plant species. In vitro studies demonstrated that some of the compounds exhibited good antitumor activity against a panel of cancer cells (IC50 2.4-47.6 μM). In silico docking studies against molecular targets in the p53 pathway demonstrated that some of the compounds inhibit cancer cell proliferation by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In order to access the effect of encapsulation of natural products into nanoparticles, β-sitosterol was selected as a model natural product and encapsulated using PLGA and PEG-PLA into nanoparticles. The nanoparticles were small in size, monodisperse and negatively charged (average particle sizes of 215.0±29.7 nm, ζ of -13.8±1.61 mV and PDI < 0.2), with acceptable encapsulation efficiency (>50%) and exhibited slow and controlled release profile. The nanoparticles were easily internalized by two human breast cancer cells; MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 and inhibited cell proliferation by up to 80% at 6.64-53.08 μg/mL of β-sitosterol in nanoparticles compared to the control groups. This study demonstrates the potential of nanoparticle drug delivery systems to enhance therapeutic efficacy of natural products