Tony Ekkelenkamp

Contact Information

Tony Ekkelenkamp

Room: Zuidhorst 244
Telephone number: +31 (0)53 4892988

Project: Nanoparticles for Multi-Modal PET/MR Imaging

Medical imaging techniques can be characterized by their sensitivity and resolution, however no single imaging technique can achieve high resolution combined with high sensitivity. Recently, there has been increasing interest in multi-modal imaging techniques. This involves combining two or more imaging techniques, which can be e.g. the combination of a highly sensitive technique such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with a high resolution technique such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). These new multi-modal imaging techniques require combined contrast agents, which can be added to a nanoparticle for longer circulation time for effective targeting of the nanoparticle. This project aims at the development of targeted, dual mode nanoparticles for combined PET/MRI imaging.

Poly(amido amine)s (PAAs, structure depicted in Figure 1) are a versatile class of polymers, whose structure resembles that of peptides. PAAs are water-soluble polymers and have been successfully applied in gene delivery.1 These polymers can also be crosslinked into nanoparticles by an inverse nanoprecipitation method,2 which is depicted in Figure 2.

Figure 2: General process of inverse nanoprecipitation. The PAA is dissolved in water and added to a non-solvent, which contains the crosslinker. After the reaction has been completed the non-solvent is removed and the particles are purified.

After crosslinking the polymer into nanoparticles and purification, the nanoparticles can be functionalized with contrast agents for MRI, tracers for PET imaging and targeting groups. The functionalized nanoparticle will be used for the targeting of prostate cancer cells for PET/MRI imaging.

Student projects

Size-controlled Formation of Poly(Amido Amine) Nanoparticles


Tony Ekkelenkamp obtained his master degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Twente. During his master he did an internship at the Centre for Delivery of Molecules and Cells at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, on the possibilities of incorporating cyclodextrin hydrogels in anti-biotic eluting wound dressings. He obtained his master’s degree under the supervision of prof. Johan Engbersen with his thesis entitled: Biodegradable Multilayered Thin Films Consisting of Gold Nanoparticles and Poly(Amido Amine)s.

(1) Van der Aa, L. J.; Vader, P.; Storm, G.; Schiffelers, R. M.; Engbersen, J. F. J. J. Control. release 2011, 150, 177–86.

(2) Steinhilber, D.; Witting, M.; Zhang, X.; Staegemann, M.; Paulus, F.; Friess, W.; Küchler, S.; Haag, R. J. Control. Release 2013, 169, 289–95.