Bio


I am currently a postdoctoral scholar working with Prof. James R. Swartz in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at Stanford. My research focuses on designing and engineering smart nanoparticle platforms to overcome the obstacles of current targeted cancer therapies. I am very enthusiastic about my project and I am looking forward to make new discoveries and make significant contributions to the field of cancer treatment. Targeted therapy (precision medicine) is one of the current research development in cancer treatment. While nanoparticle (NP)-based delivery agents have the potential to provide safe and effective targeted delivery, all the results to date have been disappointing. Ongoing challenges include: particle instability, rapid clearance by immune system phagocytosis, off-target toxicity, and immunogenicity. My goal in Dr. Swartz’s lab is to advance our findings and understanding to design a delivery vehicle that overcomes these obstacles to safely and effectively target the cancer cells. My work as a graduate student with Dr. Szu We Wang at the University of California Irvine (UCI) focused on protein-based nanoparticles for improved cancer immunotherapy, in various mouse and tumor models. My graduate study and postdoctoral training have provided me a balance of immunology and nanotechnology research experience, with expertise in nanoparticle design and engineering, in vitro and ex vivo immune cells handling, in vivo animal tumor models, live animal imaging, as well as developing strong written and oral communication skills through grant- and manuscript-writing, mentoring students and classroom teaching.

Honors & Awards


  • Full scholarship from the Department of Chemistry, Shahid Beheshti University (2006-2010)
  • Ranked 12th (top 1%) in the National Master’s Degree University Entrance Examination, Iran (2011)
  • Research & Travel Grant award, The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, UCI (2017)
  • 2nd best poster presentation award at the annual Department retreat, UCI (2018)
  • Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship, UCI (2019)

Professional Education


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of California Irvine (2019)
  • M.S., University of California, Irvine, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering (2015)
  • Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (2019)

Stanford Advisors


Patents


  • Szu Wang, Nicholas Molino, Medea Neek, Jo Anne Tucker, Edward Nelson. "United StatesProtein nanoparticles and combination therapy for cancer immunotherapy."

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Targeted therapy is one of the current research development in cancer treatment. While nanoparticle (NP)-based delivery agents have the potential to provide safe and effective targeted delivery, all the results to date have been disappointing. Ongoing challenges include: particle instability, rapid clearance by immune system phagocytosis, off-target toxicity, and immunogenicity. My research focuses to to design a delivery vehicle that overcomes current obstacles in the targeted therapy field.

All Publications


  • An Antigen-Delivery Protein Nanoparticle Combined with Anti-PD-1 Checkpoint Inhibitor Has Curative Efficacy in an Aggressive Melanoma Model ADVANCED THERAPEUTICS Neek, M., Tucker, J., Butkovich, N., Nelson, E. L., Wang, S. 2020
  • .Protein-based nanoparticles in cancer vaccine development. Nanomedicine Nanotechnology, Biol. Med. Neek, M., Kiim, T., Wang, S. 2019; 15: 164-174
  • Co-delivery of human cancer-testis antigens with adjuvant in protein nanoparticles induces higher cell-mediated immune responses. Biomaterials Biomaterials Neek, M., Tucker, J. A., Kim, T., Molino, N., Neslon, E. L., Wang, S. 2018; 156: 194-203
  • Display of DNA on nanoparticles for targeting antigen presenting cells. ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng. Neek, M., Molino, N., Tucker, J., Nelson, E., Wang, S. 2017; 3: 496-501
  • Viral-mimicking protein nanoparticle vaccine for eliciting anti-tumor responses. Biomaterials Molino, N., Neek, M., Tucker, J., Nelson, E., Wang, S. 2016; 86: 83-91