Overcoming challenges of in vivo targeting
Signature Project

Project Leaders

Professor Kris Thurecht, Professor Frank Caruso


Dr Zach Houston, Dr Matt Faria

The Project

To develop an in-depth understanding of the role that the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials have on overcoming the different biological barriers that can impede nanoparticle accumulation in tissue.


  • This work has fundamental scientific importance for understanding cell biology in vivo
  • Development of the zebrafish as a system to study endocytosis will usher in a new phase of in vivo cell biology
  • A universal method for studying nanoparticles in a simple model in vivo system will be of great interest to scientists and will have commercial benefits; optimising targeted nanomaterials to provide fundamental insight into improved formulations in future therapeutics

The Big Questions

  • Can we directly assess the contribution that targeting cellular proteins has on the degree of accumulation of nanomedicines within disease tissue? Is it really beneficial to use active targeting? This includes assessment of how active targeting influences immune response accumulation in disease tissue.
  • How do targeting ligands affect intra-tissue distribution and ultimate efficacy of imaging agent/therapeutic? Does the targeting ligand affect how the drug or therapeutic is distributed throughout the disease site and consequently its efficacy?


  • An increased understanding of how a protein or nanoparticle passes from the bloodstream into tissues, and how it is taken up by target cells
  • Study and optimisation of endosomal escape in whole animals

For more details on outcomes please contact the project leaders Professor Kris Thurecht or Professor Frank Caruso