Dr Jenifer Pendiuk Goncalves

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Overview

I am an enthusiastic Biologist, with MSc and PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology. I have experience leading different projects on biomedical research, from skin wound healing to cancer, from natural products to nanomedicine tools. My most ambitious goal is to contribute for overcoming the cancer therapy-related challenge of avoiding the severe adverse effects caused by toxic drugs on healthy tissues, seeking to obtain the maximum efficiency of diverse therapeutic systems in the absence of toxicity. On one side, I investigate the power of oncology nanomedicine, by discovering/designing simple, relatively low cost and efficient nanoparticles that could either have intrinsic antitumor action or specifically deliver drugs into tumor sites in a controlled manner. On the other side, I look for molecules found in nature (plants, fungi, animals) that can either directly fight tumors or stimulate the immune system to do so. Nowadays, I focus my investigation on the role of extracellular vesicles and their specific molecular components that can interact with the tumor microenvironment, in order to explore them and develop nanomedicine devices for cancer diagnosis and therapy. The diversity of scientific subjects that I experienced so far during my academic formation (from chemistry to biomedicine) thought me that all life processes are somehow connected. That is why I believe in all science fields working together in a multidisciplinary effort to understand the mechanisms behind life and to find creative solutions for overcoming diseases.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy of Cellular Biology, Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR)
  • Masters (Research) of Cell Biology, Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR)
  • Bachelor of Biological Sciences, Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR)

Publications

  • Pendiuk Goncalves, Jenifer, Cruz Villarreal, Jorvani, Walker, Sierra A., Tan, Xuan Ning Sharon, Borges, Chad and Wolfram, Joy (2024). High-throughput analysis of glycan sorting into extracellular vesicles. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Cell Research, 1871 (2) 119641, 119641. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2023.119641

  • Vaz da Luz, Keila Taiana, Gonçalves, Jenifer Pendiuk, de Lima Bellan, Daniel, Visnheski, Bruna Renata Caitano, Schneider, Vanessa Suzane, Cortes Cordeiro, Lucimara Mach, Vargas, José Eduardo, Puga, Renato, da Silva Trindade, Edvaldo, de Oliveira, Carolina Camargo and Simas, Fernanda Fogagnoli (2024). Molecular weight-dependent antitumor effects of prunes-derived type I arabinogalactan on human and murine triple wild-type melanomas. Carbohydrate Research, 535 108986, 108986. doi: 10.1016/j.carres.2023.108986

  • Ghebosu, Raluca E., Pendiuk Goncalves, Jenifer and Wolfram, Joy (2023). Extracellular Vesicle and Lipoprotein Interactions. Nano Letters, 24 (1), 1-8. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.3c03579

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Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Stresses such as obesity and chronic inflammation induce cellular senescence in normal cells. Senescent cells in the body induce a phenomenon called SASP (senescence-associated secretary phenotype), which increases the secretion of inflammatory proteins and extracellular vesicles, thereby inducing chronic inflammation and promoting the onset of various inflammatory diseases, including cancer. Therefore, the development of drugs that selectively kill senescent cells accumulated in the body (senolytic drugs) has recently been progressing.

    This project will develop an innovative senotherapeutics that selectively eliminates senescent cells by loading senolytic drugs into extracellular vesicles. It is expected that it will reduce the onset of various age-related diseases and extend healthy life expectancy.

  • Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small biomolecular packages (released locally and systemically) that are crucial for intercellular communication. EVs have promising potential to be leveraged and engineered to provide a paradigm shift in cell-free therapy. Unresolved challenges in the field include scalable manufacturing, understanding therapeutic/pathological mechanisms, and capacity to use extracellular vesicles for drug delivery.

    We are leveraging innovations that our team has established in manufacturing, biological mechanisms, and drug loading of EVs to develop therapeutics to alter the trajectory of disease, improve patient outcomes, and prolong a healthy lifespan.

  • Cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanoparticles with critical implications for cancer progression and immunosuppression. Published studies assessing the mechanisms of EVs in cancer progression have solely focused on protein or microRNA cargo, despite the overall importance of glycans in directly regulating interactions with cells and the microenvironment.

    This project will evaluate the effects of EV-associated glycans on metastasis and immunosuppression. We envision leveraging the obtained knowledge about EV-associated glycans’ impact on cancer progression to improve cancer diagnostics and develop innovative nano-drug-delivery systems.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Stresses such as obesity and chronic inflammation induce cellular senescence in normal cells. Senescent cells in the body induce a phenomenon called SASP (senescence-associated secretary phenotype), which increases the secretion of inflammatory proteins and extracellular vesicles, thereby inducing chronic inflammation and promoting the onset of various inflammatory diseases, including cancer. Therefore, the development of drugs that selectively kill senescent cells accumulated in the body (senolytic drugs) has recently been progressing.

    This project will develop an innovative senotherapeutics that selectively eliminates senescent cells by loading senolytic drugs into extracellular vesicles. It is expected that it will reduce the onset of various age-related diseases and extend healthy life expectancy.

  • Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small biomolecular packages (released locally and systemically) that are crucial for intercellular communication. EVs have promising potential to be leveraged and engineered to provide a paradigm shift in cell-free therapy. Unresolved challenges in the field include scalable manufacturing, understanding therapeutic/pathological mechanisms, and capacity to use extracellular vesicles for drug delivery.

    We are leveraging innovations that our team has established in manufacturing, biological mechanisms, and drug loading of EVs to develop therapeutics to alter the trajectory of disease, improve patient outcomes, and prolong a healthy lifespan.

  • Cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanoparticles with critical implications for cancer progression and immunosuppression. Published studies assessing the mechanisms of EVs in cancer progression have solely focused on protein or microRNA cargo, despite the overall importance of glycans in directly regulating interactions with cells and the microenvironment.

    This project will evaluate the effects of EV-associated glycans on metastasis and immunosuppression. We envision leveraging the obtained knowledge about EV-associated glycans’ impact on cancer progression to improve cancer diagnostics and develop innovative nano-drug-delivery systems.

  • Liposomes are self-assembling lipid-based nanoparticles that enclose an aqueous core. An advantage of liposomes is versatility in terms of efficient loading of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic therapeutics. Liposomes represent the largest category of clinically approved nanoparticles, but they have simple surfaces that display limited biointerfacing properties.

    In recent years, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have captured considerable interest due to their involvement in multiple physiological and pathological processes. EVs are cell-released nanoparticles that display complex surfaces with organotropic features, making them attractive as drug delivery systems. However, EVs also display disadvantages, such as reduced drug loading efficiency compared to synthetic counterparts.

    In this project, a library of hybrid nanosystems with various liposome and EV components will be developed. The hybrid nanosystems will be characterized and assessed in terms of loading efficiency (therapeutic peptides) and organotropism.