Administration & Faculty

Deepa Avasarala Rao, PhD

Assistant Professor




2008 Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Sciences,
University of Wisconsin-Madison,
Madison, WI

1999 Bachelors of Science in Pharmacy,
St. John’s University,
Jamaica, NY


Areas of Research & Specialization

My background is as a trained Pharmacist with a PhD in Pharmaceutics.  I obtained my B.S. in Pharmacy from St. John’s University in New York and my PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Following my PhD I pursued a brief post-doctoral study in the School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin before joining as an Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics at Drake University in Iowa.  Currently, I am a faculty member at School of Pharmacy Pacific University where I teach and pursue my research interest in pharmaceutics.

My prior research experience, as part of my PhD, was in elucidating the effect of physicochemical properties of nanoparticulate systems on their lymphatic uptake and retention.  As such, I was able to correlate the particle size, hydrophobicity, and charge distribution of biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles with their uptake and retention within the lymphatic system.  In my post-doctoral study, I worked with micellar nanocarriers composed of biocompatible polymers for delivery of anti-cancer agents.

In my current research endeavors I continue to purse my interest in biocompatible and biodegradable polymers as micellar drug delivery systems for cancer therapeutics.  Specifically I am interested in designing micellar drug carriers using Pluronic® block copolymers for the concomitant delivery of drugs with additive/synergistic effects.  Molecules currently being explored include resveratrol and doxorubicin for the treatment of ovarian and breast cancer.  Doxorubicin is a potent anticancer agent; however, its therapeutic use is limited by its side effects, especially cardiotoxicity.  Resveratrol, a potent antioxidant found naturally in grapes, nuts, and wine has been shown to mitigate cardiotoxicity in animal models when used prior to a doxorubicin administration.  The goal of our current work is to explore concomitant delivery of resveratrol and doxorubicin to determine the extent of mitigation of cardiotoxicity and efficacy of an established dosage form in ovarian and breast cancer.


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