Scientific Staff

Ruchi Bansal

Dr. Ruchi Bansal
Dr. Ruchi Bansal
Assistant Professor
Biomaterials Science and Technology- Targeted Therapeutics
MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine
Room no. ZH248
7500AE, Enschede
The Netherlands
Phone: +31534893115
Email: r.bansal@utwente.nl
Researcher unique identifier(s): D-4796-2016
ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-2470-5876; Google scholar

BIOGRAPHY

Ruchi Bansal obtained her PhD in 2012 from University of Groningen, Netherlands. She carried out her PhD project on designing new strategies to target interferon gamma and its signaling domain to the target cells in chronic diseases. During the last stages of her PhD in 2011, she received two prestigious grants Sheila Sherlock research fellowship (European association for the study of liver diseases, EASL) and The Ruth and Richard Julin’s Swedish Foundation research grant for research at Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. From 1st October 2012, she started as postdoctoral researcher at the Targeted Therapeutics, Department of Biomaterials Science and Technology, MIRA Institute of Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine at University of Twente. In 2014, She received prestigious VENI (Innovational Research Incentives for academic excellence) grant from The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, ZonMW, NWO to pursue her research on “Development of novel targeted nanotherapeutics for the treatment of liver diseases”. She  also received Gastrostart Grant from Netherlands Society of Gastroenterology (NVGE) to explore “Secreted exosomes (and/or exosomal microRNAs) as biomarkers and therapeutic targets in liver fibrosis, inflammatory diseases and liver carcinoma”. Currently, She is an assistant professor in Biomaterials Science and Technology group, where she has independently established her liver research.

RESEARCH THEME

Understanding underlying mechanisms for the development of advanced targeted Nano-theranostics for diagnosis and therapy for liver diseases.

research Ruchi Bansal

Liver diseases are a growing health problem, with a worldwide mortality of around 1.5 million deaths per year attributable to cirrhosis and primary liver cancer. Liver injury caused by chronic viral infections (mainly HBV and HCV), excessive alcohol consumption, metabolic disorders (fatty diet and obesity) leads to liver inflammation, followed by the development of fibrosis (scar tissue formation and loss-of-liver-function) and further progressing to liver carcinoma. Hepatic stellate cells (liver myofibroblasts) are known as producers of fibrosis, and inflammatory macrophages are known as regulators of fibrosis. The cross-talk between these cells plays a crucial role in the progression of liver diseases. The molecular mechanisms leading to aberrant activation of these cells and the regulatory cellular processes involved are incompletely understood, and therefore molecular therapies for the treatment of liver fibrosis are not yet available for clinical use. Therefore, there is an urgent unmet need to understand the underlying mechanisms involved in the disease pathogenesis. On the basis of the understanding, it will therefore be possible to develop new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases.

The primary goal of research is to design, develop and evaluate the novel approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases and she ambitiously aim to bring these novel therapies to the market for the clinical applications as future personalized medicines.

RESEARCH INTERESTS

The main focus of her research is to target different key cell types e.g. myofibroblasts and inflammatory macrophages. She is also actively working on identifying new biomarkers and therapeutic markers for the diagnosis/treatment for liver diseases. The following are the major areas:

  • Understanding the underlying mechanisms and intercellular interactions in the fibrosis progression.
  • Identifying the novel therapeutic targets and designing of macrophage and fibroblasts specific targeting strategies
  • Therapeutic targeting of key signaling pathways e.g. Wnt, Notch and Hedgehog signaling pathways.
  • Identifying new biomarkers (exosomal microRNA) for early diagnosis.
  • Developing advanced patient-mimicking ex vivo model systems (e.g. e.g. liver-on-chip, liver organoids, liver slices and bioengineered liver) to study cell-cell interactions, and for efficacy and toxicity studies.
  • Developing the patient-mimicking preclinical liver-diseased animal models e.g. liver fibrosis mouse models, alcohol-induced mouse model, fatty-diet induced mouse model and liver tumor xenograft mouse model for investigation of therapeutic efficacy and imaging of designed nanotheranostics.
  • Developing research: Nano-targeting inflammation: developing and designing theranostic approaches.

Research Highlights

  • Research highlighted in NVH liver magazine http://www.hepatologie.org/files/LEVER%203_15.pdf).
  • Research highlight published in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2011; 8(7): 359
  • Highlighted as “key scientific article” in Global Medical Discovery.

RESEARCH PROJECTS: Supervisor

  1. Targeted Nanobiologicals for fibrosis and cancer (PhD student: Deby Mardhian, co-supervised by Dr. Jai Prakash).
  2. Nano-therapeutics for the targeted modulation of inflammatory macrophages in liver fibrosis (Dhadhang Kurniawan, co-supervised by Dr. Jai Prakash).
  3. Relaxin-conjugated magnetic nanoparticles as theranostic approach for liver fibrosis (Beata Nagórniewicz, Master student).
  4. Nano-targeting to inflammatory macrophages for the treatment of liver fibrosis (Mikolaj Szachniewicz, Master student). Received 1st Poster Prize, Applied functional polymer Material conference (AFPM), 2016.
  5. To study the effect of kinase inhibitors in liver fibrosis (Büsra Öztürk, Master student).
  6. Development of in vivo mimic 3D tumor spheroid model (Ilse Veerbeek, Master Student). 

PHD STUDENTS

  1. Dhadhang Kurniawan (since 2016): Nano-therapeutics for the targeted modulation of inflammatory macrophages in liver fibrosis
  2. Deby Mardhian (since 2016): Targeted Nanobiologicals for fibrosis and cancer

AWARDS AND HONORS

  • National Scholar Award, United European Gastroenterology week, Oct 2017, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Young Investigator Travel award  (€1000), United European Gastroenterology week, Oct 2017, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Young Investigator Travel award  (€1000), United European Gastroenterology week, Oct 2016, Vienna, Austria.
  • EASL Young Investigator award, EASL The International Liver Congress, 2016, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Young Investigator Travel award  (€1000), United European Gastroenterology week, Oct 2015, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Junior scholar award for attending Viral Hepatitis Congress (VHC), 2015, Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Young Investigator Travel award (€1000), United European Gastroenterology week, Oct 2014, Vienna, Austria.
  • EASL Young Investigator award (€650), EASL The International Liver Congress, 2013, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • AASLD Presidential Poster of Distinction. American association for study for liver diseases (AASLD) Liver meeting 2011 at San Francisco, USA, November 2011.
  • EASL Young Investigator award (€650), EASL monothematic conference, 2011, Petersburg, Germany.
  • EASL Young Investigator award (€650), EASL The International Liver Congress, 2011, Berlin, Germany.
  • Selected for Federation of Innovative Drug Research (FIGON) National PhD competition.
  • 2nd Best Poster Presentation award (€500) at FIGON Dutch Medicine Days, Netherlands.
  • EASL Young Investigator award (€650), EASL The International Liver Congress, 2010, Vienna, Austria.
  • Young Investigator travel Grant from Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and technology, India, 12th ISVHLD, 2006, Paris, France.

GRANTS

2016-2017  Gastrostart Grant (7500 €) from The Netherlands Society of Gastroenterology (NVGE).
2014-2017  VENI grant (250,000 €) from Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, ZonMw.
2012-2013  The Ruth and Richard Julin’s Foundation Swedish research grant (5000 €).
2011-2012  Sheila Sherlock Research Fellowship (45,000 €) from European association for the study of liver (EASL).
2007-2011  Ubbo Emmius International fellowship (90,000 €) for PhD at the University of Groningen, Netherlands.
2002-2007  Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) research fellowship (18,000 €), Delhi, India.
1997-2000  IndusInd fellowship from IndusInd Foundation, India for the University Education.

PUBLICATIONS

  • Akcora BO, Storm G, Bansal R*. Inhibition of canonical WNT signaling pathway by β-catenin/CBP inhibitor ICG001 ameliorates liver fibrosis in vivo through suppression of stromal CXCL12 (submitted to FASEBJ).
  • Bansal R*, Nakagawa S, Yazdani S, van Baarlen J, Venkatesh A, Koh AP, Song W, Goossens N, Watanabe H, Beasley MB, Powell CA, Storm G, Kaminski N, van Goor H, Friedman SL, Hoshida Y, Prakash J. (2017) Integrin in regulation of myofibroblasts phenotype: Implication for fibrotic diseases. Experimental molecular medicine 2017, accepted (in press).
  • Yazdani S, Bansal R, Prakash J. Drug targeting to myofibroblasts: Implications for fibrosis and cancer. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews 2017. pii: S0169-409X(17)30107-2. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2017.07.010.
  • Akcora BO, Storm G, Prakash J, Bansal R*. Tyrosine kinase inhibitor BIBF1120 ameliorates inflammation, angiogenesis and fibrosis in CCl4-induced liver fibrogenesis mouse model. Scientific Reports 2017 Mar 14; 7: 44545. doi: 10.1038/srep44545.
  • Bansal R*, Nagórniewicz B, Prakash J. Clinical advancements in the targeted therapies against liver fibrosis. Mediators of Inflammation. 2016; 2016:7629724. doi: 10.1155/2016/7629724. Review. Corresponding author
  • Berg van den PJ*, Bansal R*, Daoudi K, Steenbergen W, Prakash J. Preclinical detection of liver fibrosis using dual-modality photoacoustic/ultrasound system. Biomed Opt Express. 2016; 7(12): 5081–5091. *shared authorship.
  • Poosti F, Bansal R, Yazdani S, Prakash J, Beljaars L, van den Born J, de Borst MH, van Goor H, Hillebrands JL, Poelstra K. Interferon gamma peptidomimetic targeted to interstitial myofibroblasts attenuates renal fibrosis after unilateral ureteral obstruction in mice. Oncotarget. 2016; 7(34): 54240-54252. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.11095.
  • Chen M, Jagya N, Bansal R, Frelin L, Sällberg M. Prospects and progress of DNA vaccines for treating hepatitis B. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2016 Jan 28:1-12.
  • Bansal R*, Baarlen J van, Storm G, Prakash J. The interplay of the Notch signaling in hepatic stellate cells and macrophages determines the fate of liver fibrogenesis. Scientific Reports 2015; 5, 18272; doi: 10.1038/srep18272 (2015).
  • Bansal R*, Frelin L, Brenndörfer ED, Storm G, Prakash J, Sällberg M. Hepatitis C Virus Nonstructural 3/4A Protein Dampens Inflammation and Contributes to Slow Fibrosis Progression during Chronic Fibrosis In Vivo. PLoS One. 2015; 10(6):e0128466.  
  • Hu Q, Rijcken CJ, Bansal R, Hennink WE, Storm G, Prakash J. Complete regression of breast tumour with a single dose of docetaxel-entrapped core-cross-linked polymeric micelles. Biomaterials. 2015; 53: 370-8.
  • Poosti F, Bansal R, Yazdani S, Prakash J, Post E, Klok P, Van den Born J, de Borst MH, Van Goor H, Poelstra K, Hillebrands JH. Selective delivery of interferon gamma to renal interstitial myofibroblasts: A novel strategy for the treatment of renal fibrosis. FASEB J. 2015; 29(3):1029-42.
  • Bansal R*, Prakash J, de Ruiter M, Beljaars L, Poelstra K. Targeting of Interferon gamma peptidomimetic to disease-inducing cells inhibits liver fibrogenesis and tumor angiogenesis. Journal of controlled release 2014; 179; 18-24.
  • Bansal R*, Prakash J, de Ruiter M, Poelstra K. Targeted recombinant fusion proteins of IFNγ and mimetic IFNγ with PDGFβR bicyclic peptide inhibits liver fibrogenesis  in-vivo. PLoS One. 2014;9(2):e89878.
  • Bansal R, Tomar T, Ostman A, Poelstra K, Prakash J. Selective targeting of Interferon gamma to stromal fibroblasts and pericytes as a novel therapeutic approach to inhibit angiogenesis and tumor growth. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2012; 11(11): 2419-28
  • Bansal R*, Prakash J, de Ruiter M, Beljaars L, Poelstra K. Peptide-modified albumin carrier explored as a novel strategy for a cell-specific delivery of interferon gamma to treat liver fibrosis. Molecular Pharmaceutics 2011; 8 (5): 1899-1909. 
  • Bansal R*, Post E, Proost JH, de Jager-Krikken Alie, Poelstra K, Prakash J. PEGylation improves pharmacokinetic profile, liver uptake and efficacy of Interferon gamma in liver fibrosis. Journal of Controlled Release 2011; 154 (3): 233-240.
  • Bansal R*, Prakash J, Post E, Beljaars L, Schuppan D, Poelstra K. Novel engineered targeted Interferon gamma blocks hepatic fibrogenesis in mice. Hepatology 2011; 54(2): 586-96. “Research highlight” published in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2011; 8(7): 359 (IF 2014: 12.61). Highlighted as “key scientific article” in Global Medical Discovery.
  • Prakash J, Bansal R, Post E, de Jager-Krikken A, de Hooge, MH, Poelstra K. Albumin-binding and tumor vasculature determine the anti-tumor effect of 15-deoxy-delta12, 14-Prostaglandin-J2 in vivo. Neoplasia. 2009; 11(12): 1348-58.
  • Gupta P, Tayal R, Durgapal H, Rath S, Acharya SK, Panda SK. Development of highly sensitive Bicistronic vector based non-radioactive antigen-specific cytotoxicity assay. Journal of Immunological Methods 2009; 349(1-2): 28-37.
  • Chaudhuri V, Tayal R, Nayak B, Acharya SK, Panda SK. Occult hepatitis B virus infection in chronic liver disease: full-length genome and analysis of mutant surface promoter. Gastroenterology 2004; 127(5): 1356-71.

*Corresponding author

PATENT

Bansal R, Poelstra K, Beljaars L, Prakash J. Interferon-gamma analogues for the treatment of liver fibrosis. European patent application (EP 09181049.9); US application (US 61/302973) and PCT application (PCT/NL2010/050897).

INVITED LECTURES

  • Invited lecture at Young investigator forum at The International Liver congress 2013, European Association for the Study for the Liver diseases (EASL), Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Invited lecture at 22nd World Congress on Advances in Oncology & 20th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine, 2015 and 2016 (Declined due to overlapping conferences).
  • Targeting Therapies For The Treatment of Liver Fibrosis.
  • Invited lecture at Erasmus Medical Centre 2015, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  • Targeting of Notch signaling pathway attenuates early liver fibrogenesis in vivo. Invited lecture at MIRA event 2015, University of Twente, Netherlands.
  • Cell-selective delivery of IFNγ peptidomimetic inhibits chronic liver fibrosis and tumor angiogenesis in vivo.
  • Invited lecture at Pharmaceutica Conference 2016, Madrid, Spain.
  • Myofibroblasts and macrophages in liver fibrosis: from pathogenesis to novel nanotherapeutic strategies. Invited lecture at Fibrosis Club Groningen 2017, Netherlands.

TEACHING AND SUPERVISIOn 

  • Bachelors and Masters research project supervision.
  • Teaching and coordination of master course “Controlled Gene and Drug Delivery”.

OTHER ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES

  • Editorial board member: Scientific reports, Nature publishing group.
  • Memberships: Member of the European Association for the study of the liver (EASL), Switzerland and Member of Nederlandse Vereniging voor Hepatologie (Dutch society of Hepatology), The Netherlands.
  • Other Editorial Activities: Reviewer for journals such as Scientific reports, PLOS One, Journal of Controlled Release, molecular pharmaceutics etc. Chief Guest editor for the special issue in Mediators of Inflammation.
  • Reviewer for grant applications: MRC Medical Research Council, UK; ANR French National Research Agency.