Meet the Innovators: Northeastern grads promise early detection of diseases with breakthrough MRI technology

Codi Gharagouzloo, a physicist and bioengineer, enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Northeastern University in 2011, dreaming of curing cancer.

“I originally came in with this sort of magic bullet idea,” he says. “I thought nanoparticles were just going to be the cure to cancer.”

In the mid-2000s, nanoparticles, a class of tiny materials that cannot be seen with a regular microscope, and nanomedicine, which uses medical intervention at the molecular level, became a highly promising area of research on cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

As a research assistant in the lab of Srinivas Sridhar, director of Nanomedicine Innovation Center at Northeastern and distinguished professor of physics, Gharagouzloo used magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to study the use of iron oxide nanoparticles for quantifying the enhanced permeability and retention effect when molecules of certain of certain size can accumulate in tumor tissue.

But he soon realized that nanoparticle drug delivery to cancer would be made successful through specific targeting for specific cancers, driven by discoveries in molecular biology and not physics.

Read more from Northeastern Global News.

Photo courtesy of Codi Gharagouzloo