Lecture : Prof. Jelena Kolosnjaj-Tabi


FWO Research Consortium

Nanomaterials for drug delivery and in vivo imaging


Inorganic nanoparticles: friends, foes or just fashion victims?

Prof. Jelena Kolosnjaj-Tabi

The lecture will take place on Tuesday May 10th 2022 at 11 am in Auditorium B

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ottergemsesteenweg 460, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.

Registration not required.


Prof. Kevin Braeckmans


Preclinical research involving inorganic nanoparticles overflows with proof of concept studies and firm promises that nanomaterials will revolutionize therapy. Inorganic nanoparticles indeed offer an unprecedented potential for therapy, as they can ally chemical and physical means to treat disease. Hundreds of thousands of studies on potential applications of inorganic nanoparticles have been published to date. Yet, inorganic nanoparticle-based medicinal products (or medical devices) that actually obtained marketing authorization, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. This fascinating paradox is due to the fact that nanoparticles are much less docile in the body then they are within an Erlenmeyer flask. As soon as (inorganic) nanoparticles are administered to cells or into the body, they interact with bodily components and their structure and properties rapidly change. In order to master nanoparticles’ use, we have to understand nanoparticles behavior in space and time.

Ironically, while most of us did not have the possibility to be medically treated by (inorganic) nanoparticles (indeed here, I voluntarily exclude cosmetic products-derived nanoparticles), our lungs, hearts and brains are generously supplemented with airborne nanoparticles, derived from ambient air. Should this worry us?

As a big fan of nanotechnology, I will first present some aspects of nanoparticles potential toxicity and organisms innate mechanisms of nano- detoxification. Subsequently, the advantages of nanoparticles-mediated hyperthermia in cancer treatment will be presented- namely in terms of their potential to disorganize the collagen matrix, which is currently the main obstacle in unresectable solid tumors treatment. In the perspective of a targeted therapy, the concept of magnetic cell guiding will be presented, as well as the use of magnetic forces, which can help the delivery of antimicrobial agents into biofilms. To continue in the context of physical delivery, I will share our preliminary results in nanoparticle-enhanced electroporation in 3D cell models, and finish with a thought on the use of ionic salts, which could act as precursors for biosynthesis of iron oxide or gold nanoparticles in situ, opening yet another door to nanoparticles use in clinics.


Pharmacist by training (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Jelena earned a PhD at University Paris South (2010), for which she obtained the award of the Chancellery of the Universities of Paris. After two post docs (Paris Descartes, 2010-2012; Paris Diderot 2012-2014) she joined the Cellular biophysics group in Toulouse, directed by Marie-Pierre Rols (2017-present).

Her main research interest focuses on the evaluation of the in vivo behavior of nanoparticles, their use for cell-based therapies, and their application for improving the therapy and diagnosis of cancer.

Selected publications:

· Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J., et al. (2010). In vivo behavior of large doses of ultrashort and full-length single-walled carbon nanotubes after oral and intraperitoneal administration to Swiss mice. Acs Nano, 4(3), 1481-1492.

· Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J., et al. (2013). Cell labeling with magnetic nanoparticles: opportunity for magnetic cell imaging and cell manipulation. Journal of nanobiotechnology, 11(1), S7

· Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J., et al. 2014. Heat-Generating Iron Oxide Nanocubes: Subtle “Destructurators” of the Tumoral Microenvironment. ACS Nano, 8(5): 4268-4283

· Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J., et al. (2015). Anthropogenic carbon nanotubes found in the airways of Parisian children. EBioMedicine, 2(11), 1697-1704.

· Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J., et al.. (2015). The one year fate of iron oxide coated gold nanoparticles in mice. ACS Nano,9(8), 7925-7939.

· Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J., et al. (2016). Biotransformations of magnetic nanoparticles in the body. Nano Today, 11(3), 280-284.

· Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J et al. (2017). Carbon nanotubes: Culprit or witness of air pollution? Nano Today, 15, 11-14.

· Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J., et al. 2019. Magnetic silica coated iron oxide nanochains as photothermal agents, disrupting the extracellular matrix and eradicating cancer cells. Cancers, 11 (12), 2040

· Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J., et al. (2019). Electric field-responsive nanoparticles and electric fields: physical, chemical, biological mechanisms and therapeutic prospects. Advanced drug delivery reviews, 138, 56-67.

· Van de Walle, A. and Kolosnjaj-Tabi, J., et al. (2020). Ever-Evolving Identity of Magnetic Nanoparticles within Human Cells: The Interplay of Endosomal Confinement, Degradation, Storage, and Neocrystallization. Accounts of Chemical Research, 53(10), 2212-2224.