Irina Balyasnikova, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery; Feinberg School of Medicine
Throughout my career as a research scientist, I have developed substantial expertise and contributed to several scientific areas. Overall, my research focuses on the development of novel targeted approaches for the treatment of malignant brain tumors. In particular, I am interested in developing and utilizing antibodies and genetically engineered variants against tumor-specific antigens in order to enhance and deliver therapeutics specifically to brain and other tumors. An important part of my research concerns understanding the biology of glioblastoma to increase the efficacy of available treatments and the development of new. This intertwines with my expansive work involved in the development of effective monoclonal antibodies and genetic engineering of antibody variants. This is documented by publications, past funding, and the ongoing NIH-supported project investigating single-chain antibody based IL13R?2-specific CAR T cells for the treatment of glioblastoma in a preclinical model. Another area of my expertise is in the development of stem cells as therapeutic carriers and immune-modulators. It includes the investigation of various delivery methods of therapeutic stem cells to the brain, as well as the genetic modification of neural and mesenchymal stem cells with therapeutic antibodies, apoptosis-induced proteins, oncolytic virus, and therapeutic nanoprobes. Under this thematic umbrella, the development of technologies allowing the reliable and non-invasive tracking of stem cells in the brain takes a special place. I have substantial experience and expertise, and have established ongoing collaborations necessary for all proposed studies. I have published over 75 peer-reviewed primary and co-authored publications, and several of my past and current projects were funded and successfully completed. In summary, my knowledge and experience and preliminary data well prepare me to carry out proposed studies and to ensure the successful outcome of this project.