Project

Ischemic stroke occurs when brain tissue is locally deprived of oxygen and nutrients due to blood vessel occlusion, leading to cellular death within minutes after the initial insult. While current treatments are limited, cell transplantation improved functional behavior in pre-clinical studies, yet resulted in poor cell survival. One crucial obstacle is the loss of tissue plasticity, restricted by the formation of a proteoglycan-rich glial scar. My research focuses on the sustained delivery of a mutant thermostabilized form of the bacterial enzyme chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) for the degradation of the glial scar. The enzyme will be co-delivered with human induced pluripotent stem cells-derived neural progenitor cells (iPS-NPC) within a modified hydrogel, to enhance cell survival and ameliorate functional behavior.

Education

Ph.D., Biotechnology and Food Engineering
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Haifa, Israel
2011-2018

B.Sc., Biotechnology and Food Engineering
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Haifa, Israel
2007-2011

Awards

Best Oral Presentation, Controlled Release Society Annual Meeting, New York, USA (2018)
Kinam Park Travel Award for the Controlled Release Society Annual Meeting, New York, USA (2018)
Second place - Best student presentation award. Young Israeli chapter of the CRS (YICRS) Annual Meeting, Haifa, Israel (2017)
The Irwin and Joan Jacobs Excellence scholarship award (2016)
The Irwin and Joan Jacobs Excellence scholarship award (2015)
Research scholarship on behalf of the University of Michigan – Israel Partnership for Research (2014)
Excellence in teaching award (2013)

Publications

Hettiaratchi M, O'Meara M, O'Meara T, Pickering A, Letko Khait N, Shoichet M, “Re-Engineering Biocatalysts: Computational Redesign of Chondroitinase ABC Improves Efficacy and Stability”, Science Advances, 2020.

Oieni J, Levy L, Letko Khait N et al. “Nano-Ghosts: Biomimetic membranal vesicles, technology and characterization”, Methods, 2019.

Letko Khait N et al. “Radiolabeling of cell membrane-based nano-vesicles with 14C-linoleic acid for robust and sensitive quantification of their biodistribution”. J. Control. Release, 2019, 293 pp. 215-223.

Timaner M, Letko Khait N, et al., "Therapy-educated mesenchymal stem cells enrich for tumor initiating cells". Cancer Res., 2018, 78, pp. 1253-1265.

Kaneti L, Bronshtein T, Malkah N, Kovregina I, Letko Khait N, et al. "Nanoghosts as a Novel Natural Nonviral Gene Delivery Platform Safely Targeting Multiple Cancers” Nano Lett., 2016, 16, pp. 1574-1582.

Toledano Furman N.E, Lupu-Haber Y, Bronshtein T, Kaneti L, Letko N, et al. “Reconstructed Stem Cell Nanoghosts: A Natural Tumor Targeting Platform”, Nano Lett., 2013, 13, pp. 3248−3255.

Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2019-present