2020 Intern Juliette Strubel squareBackground
University of Exeter, UK, Class of 2022

Project
Blood-Brain Barrier Opening for Drug Delivery: 2020 Status

Project Overview
The goals of my project were to learn about opening the blood-brain barrier (BBB), the mechanisms of drug delivery with focused ultrasound, and the various classes and sizes of therapeutics that have successfully crossed the BBB with ultrasound. Next, I summarized these findings in a comprehensive illustration and video.

Project Outcomes
I summarized the neurovascular unit’s architecture and the BBB’s physiology, including the various molecular transport methods across the BBB. I then incorporated the different classes of molecules, including the size and weights of specific subtypes, into a table.

Why were you initially interested in working with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation?
I found the Foundation’s work invaluable in the field of noninvasive treatments, especially with the research on BBB opening and its increasing clinical relevance. I think that focused ultrasound is the future of noninvasive treatment, and the preclinical studies on drug delivery across the BBB only further prove this.

Share some thoughts on your experience as an intern at the Foundation.
The information I acquired while working for the Foundation was indispensable. I learned so much from Dr. Suzanne LeBlang, and I feel very grateful to have been able to work with such a great mentor. I am so thankful to the Foundation for providing me with such an amazing opportunity.

What was the most important learning point of your internship experience?
During my internship, I learned the importance of communication skills, especially in the field of science. I also practiced my research skills and my ability to summarize my findings into an illustration for general use.

How will your accomplishments impact the field of focused ultrasound?
Knowledge of the specific size and weights of therapeutics that can cross the BBB is critical in ensuring the safety and efficacy of focused ultrasound-induced BBB opening. This illustration will help people to better understand BBB opening and consider the use of new or repurposed medications that could cross the BBB with the aid of ultrasound and treat various diseases.

Has your internship affected your career plans? If so, how?
I found my work on BBB opening very informative and exciting, and it has proved my passion for finding the best noninvasive treatments for neurological diseases. As a result, I plan to conduct further research projects on drug delivery across the BBB.

What is one tip that you would give 2021 summer interns?
I would advise 2021 interns to be open to any information concerning their project and always ask questions when uncertain.

Juliette was also a Foundation intern during the summer of 2019. Learn more about her earlier project >

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