Symposium

Of Rising Scholars

Spring 2024

Avni will be presenting at The Symposium of Rising Scholars on Saturday, March 23rd! To attend the event and see Avni's presentation.

Go to Polygence Scholars page
Avni Kalra's cover illustration
Polygence Scholar2023
Avni Kalra's profile

Avni Kalra

Class of 2025

About

Projects

  • "Novel Applications of Elastin-like Polypeptides (ELPs) in the Treatment of Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM)" with mentor Jordan (Nov. 28, 2023)

Project Portfolio

Novel Applications of Elastin-like Polypeptides (ELPs) in the Treatment of Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM)

Started Aug. 21, 2023

Abstract or project description

Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) is a rare and acute yet fulminant infection caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri. PAM is characterized by headaches, fever, nausea, and stiff neck. Although rare, PAM is fatal, with a mortality rate of 98% and causes death within two weeks of exposure. There are several key factors involved in the high mortality rate including the ineffectiveness of common treatments such as amphotericin B, fluconazole, azithromycin, and Rifampin’s alongside poor penetration of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) are biopolymeric nanoparticles that mimic the properties of natural elastin, a key component of the extracellular matrix found in connective tissue. ELPs are specifically characterized by their biocompatibility, targeted and controlled release, phase change behavior, and the ability to encapsulate multiple drugs. While ELPs have been extensively researched in the context of various diseases, their potential in treating PAM remains an unexplored area of interest. This papers therefore focuses on possible approaches in which ELPs might be leveraged to increase the efficacy of existing treatments for PAM. By imagining how ELP nanomedicines could be applied for novel therapeutic strategies against PAM, we hope to inspire future translational avenues for this rare disease to improve patient outcomes.