Marsico 4205 UNC Chapel Hill (919) 843-6142 (919) 448-4008
Research and Publications:
Primary Research Area: Pharmacoengineering
Secondary Research Area: Biomedical Microdevices
Research Interest: Drug delivery devices for disease prevention and treatment
Research: Dr. Benhabbour’s research focuses on the development of novel delivery platforms and polymer-based devices that can treat or prevent a disease. Her work combines the elegance of polymer chemistry with the versatility of engineering and formulation development to design and fabricate efficient and translational delivery systems for HIV prevention and cancer treatment. The current limitations in drug delivery such as rapid drug release and limited efficacy are opportunities for breakthrough science that will impact human health. In particular, the greatest impact of Dr. Benhabbour’s technologies for HIV prevention could be in women in sub-Saharan Africa, where approximately 10,000 women are infected with HIV every day. Dr. Benhabbour’s laboratory is in the UNC-NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering and is part of the Center in Nanotechnology and Drug Delivery (CNDD) and the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Our lab collaborates with experts in the fields of oncology and HIV research both at the basic research and clinical sides. Our goal is to develop new devices and technologies that can be translated from the bench side to the bedside and impact human health.
Bio: S. Rahima Benhabbour is an Assistant Professor at the UNC_NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill. After completing her doctorate degree in chemistry in 2008 at McMaster University in Canada, Benhabbour completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and was promoted to a Research Assistant Professor in December 2010. In September 2017, she was hired as an Assistant Professor at the UNC_NCSU Joint Biomedical Engineering Department with an Adjunct Appointment at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Dr. Benhabbour’s academic research focuses on the development of novel tunable delivery platforms and polymer-based devices that can treat or prevent a disease. Her work combines the elegance of polymer chemistry with the versatility of engineering and formulation development to design and fabricate efficient and translatable delivery systems for cancer treatment and HIV prevention. The current limitations in drug delivery such as rapid drug release and limited efficacy are opportunities for breakthrough science that will impact human health. In particular, the greatest impact of our technologies for HIV prevention could be in women in sub Saharan African countries, whereby ~10,000 women a day are being infected with HIV. Dr. Benhabbour’s passion for making an impact in human health has been a driving force for her pursuit for innovation and translational science. She has recently developed an innovative 3D printed intravaginal ring technology as a platform technology for women’s health indications. Dr. benhabbour received her first funding for this innovative technology in June 2016 from the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, and in September 2016 she Founded her first startup company Anelleo, Inc. In May 2017, AnelleO received its first seed funding from the Carolina KickStart Program to develop its first product AnelleO PRO, a progesterone 3D printed intravaginal ring for treatment of infertility. Dr. Benhabbour is a highly passionate and goal driven individual whose ultimate dream is to help empower women who are most vulnerable to HIV and in desperate need for discrete, accessible, and women controlled preventative options.
1. Dunn SS, Beckford Vera DR, Benhabbour SR, Parrott MC. “Rapid microwave-assisted synthesis of sub-30nm lipid nanoparticles”, J. Colloid Interface Sci., 2017 Feb 15; 488:240-245. Epub 2016Nov 2.
2. Glatt, Dylan; Beckford Vera, Denis; Parrott, Matthew; Luft, J.; Benhabbour, Rahima; Mumper, Russell. “The Interplay of Antigen Affinity, Internalization, and Pharmacokinetics on CD44-Positive Tumor Targeting of Monoclonal Antibodies”, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2016 Jun 6; 13(6):1894-1904.
3. Amy E. Webster, J. Christopher Luft, Joseph M. DeSimone, Russell J. Mumper and S. Rahima Benhabbour. “Development and Evaluation of CD44-Targeted Lipid-Based Nanoparticles in an Orthotopic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Xenograft Mouse Model”, 2015, ACS PMSE Division preprint, 1-2.
4. Lei Peng, Allison N. Schorzman, Ping Ma, Andrew J. Madden, William B. Zamboni, S. Rahima Benhabbour and Russell J. Mumper. “2’-(2-bromohexadecanoyl)-Paclitaxel Conjugate Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer in an Orthotopic Xenograft Mouse Model”. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 2014, 9 (1), 3601-3610.
5. S. Rahima Benhabbour, J. Christopher Luft, Dongwook Kim, Anekant Jain, Saurabh Wadhwa, Matthew C. Parrott, Rihe Liu, Joseph DeSimone, Russell J. Mumper. “In vitro and In vivo Assessment of Targeting Lipid-based Nanoparticles to the Epidermal Growth Factor-Receptor (EGFR) Using a Novel Heptameric ZEGFR Domain”, J. of Control. Release, 2012, 158(1) 63-71.
6. Lan Feng, Huali Wu, Ping Ma, Russell J. Mumper, S. Rahima Benhabbour. “Development and Optimization of Oil-filled Lipid Nanoparticles Containing Docetaxel Conjugates Designed to Control the Drug Release Rate In-vitro and In-vivo”, Int. J. of Nanomedicine, 2011, 6, 2545-56.