Fanny Chapelin, Ph.D.
Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Kentucky
In the past few decades, cell-based therapies transformed the field of medicine, especially for cancer therapy, organ regeneration, transplantation and many more immune diseases. However, developing effective cell therapies remains elusive if one is unable to capture the cells’ dynamic biodistribution, persistence, and efficacy after administration. Clinicians presently do not know the fate of the injected cells; thus, interpreting cases of non-responding patients remains a barrier to wider use. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the best clinical and non-invasive modality for real time, quantitative monitoring of cell homing and tumor response. Safe and efficient labeling of non-phagocytic cell types such as stem cells and T cells remains challenging and requires the development of contrast agents and MRI platforms to monitor such events. In this seminar, I will describe iron oxide and fluorinated imaging probes and methods for longitudinal tracking of labeled cells by MRI for cancer and transplantation applications. I will present strategies to increase cell loading through cell penetrating peptides and will show how one can exploit the properties of PFC nanoemulsions to indirectly detect adoptive cell therapy cytotoxicity against cancer cells. Overall, MR imaging has a strong prognostic value for cell-based therapies and could facilitate disease progression assessment and assist in personalized therapy development and treatment planning.
Fanny Chapelin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at University of Kentucky. Fanny received her B.S. and M.S. degree in biological sciences and biomedical engineering from the University of Technology of Compiegne, France and her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from University of California San Diego. Her core contribution to the science field has been to develop non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to track immune cell migration to foci of inflammation in different pathologies such as transplant rejection, autoimmune diseases and cancer. The MRI methods she has developed serve as surrogate biomarkers of early changes in cancer or transplantation. She has thus far authored 16 publications in Scientific Reports, Radiology, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, Oncotarget, etc., and received numerous prestigious awards related to this research. Specifically, she received France’s “Best Engineer of the Year” award for science in 2013 for her research on MRI methods to address the clinical bottleneck of stem cell transplant monitoring. She was also elected as a Scialog Fellow and to UK’s Research Scholars Program in 2021. Her current research interests include improving non-invasive imaging techniques to visualize cellular therapies and inflammation in cancer and other immune disorders. Overall, her research aims to provide clinicians with ways to visualize cell distribution, fate and efficacy to improve clinical practice and patient care.