Andre Nel

Andre Nel, MBChB, PhD

Distinguished Professor and Chief, Department of Medicine, NanoMedicine
Director, UC Center for Environmental Impact of Nanotechnology
Associate Director, California NanoSystems Institute




Allergy and Immunology/Nanomedicine



PhD, University Stellenbosch, 1987
MBChB, University of Stellenbosch, Capetown, RSA, 1975

Board Certifications

Allergy and Immunology, American Board of Allergy and Immunology, 1991, 2001, 2011
Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine, 1989

Scientific Interests

Dr. Andre Nel's chief research interests are:

  1. Nanomedicine and cancer nanotherapeutics
  2. Nanomaterial biophysicochemical interactions to design improved and safer nanomaterials
  3. Nanotechnology environmental health and safety, with particular emphasis on predictive toxicological modeling, high throughput safety screening and safe implementation of nanotechnology in humans and the environment

The major thrust of Nel's research in nanomedicine has been to develop nanotherapeutics for cancer, as well as nanomaterials that can be used to boost the immune response by nano-enabled vaccine and anti-tumor immunity platforms. Major accomplishments in nano-cancer have been to develop a multifunctional mesoporous silica nanoparticle (MSNP) system, which allows the delivery and controlled release of multiple chemotherapeutic agents and/or siRNA's, individually or in combination at the cancer site in different tumor models. High content discovery at the nano/bio interface has allowed Nel to custom design nanocarriers for optimal efficacy, pharmacokinetics, controlled drug delivery (e.g., nanovalves), targeting, theranostics and overcoming cancer-specific barriers.

Through study of nanomaterial interactions at the biological interface, Nel has played a pioneering role in developing the field of nanotechnology environmental health and safety. By using high throughput screening of nanomaterial libraries, establishment of adverse outcome pathways, computational analysis and modeling, Nel's team has developed a paradigm-shift for nanomaterial safety assessment, commensurate with the growth of the field. These advances are premised on understanding nanomaterial structure-activity relationships and predictive toxicological paradigms for tiered risk assessment, leading to 21st century regulatory platforms and safer material design.

Highlighted Publications

Liu X, Lin P, Perrett I, Lin J, Liao YP, Chang CH, Jiang J, Wu N, Donahue T, Wainberg Z, Nel AE, Meng H. Tumor-penetrating peptide enhances transcytosis of silicasome-based chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer. J Clin Invest. 2017 May 1;127(5):2007-2018. doi: 10.1172/JCI92284. Epub 2017 Apr 17.

Liu X, Situ A, Kang Y, Villabroza KR, Liao Y, Chang CH, Donahue T, Nel AE, Meng H. Irinotecan Delivery by Lipid-Coated Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles Shows Improved Efficacy and Safety over Liposomes for Pancreatic Cancer. ACS Nano. 2016 Feb 23;10(2):2702-15. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.5b07781. Epub 2016 Feb 9.

Meng H, Wang M, Liu H, Liu X, Situ A, Wu B, Ji Z, Chang CH, Nel AE. Use of a lipid-coated mesoporous silica nanoparticle platform for synergistic gemcitabine and paclitaxel delivery to human pancreatic cancer in mice. ACS Nano. 2015;9(4):3540-57. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.5b00510. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

Meng H, Xue M, Xia T, Zhao YL, Tamanoi F, Stoddart JF, Zink JI, Nel AE. Autonomous in vitro anticancer drug release from mesoporous silica nanoparticles by pH-sensitive nanovalves. J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Sep 15;132(36):12690-7.

Nel AE, Madler L, Velegol D, Xia T, Hoek EM, Somasundaran P, Klaessig F, Castranova V, Thompson M. Understanding biophysicochemical interactions at the nano-bio interface. Nat Mater. 2009 Jul;8(7):543-57. doi: 10.1038/nmat2442. Epub 2009 Jun 14. Review.