Silvia Muro

Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya

Life & Medical Sciences

Dr. Muro obtained her PhD in Sciences from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and then moved to University of Pennsylvania as a Postdoctoral Associate and Research Assistant Professor in Pharmacology. In 2008 she joined the Bioengineering Department and the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research at the University of Maryland, where she was a tenured Associate Professor since 2012. Since November 2017, she is an ICREA Professor in the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia. Dr. Muro has published 80+ articles and chapters in drug delivery and has received awards from the Controlled Release Society, the American Society for Nanomedicine, the UMD Outstanding Life Sciences Invention in 2011, the Junior Faculty Outstanding Engineering Research award, and is a member of the NIH Nanotechnology Study Section.

Research interests

Dr. Muro’s research sits at the interface between molecular-cellular biology and nanotechnology-drug delivery. Her lab studies the biological mechanisms ruling how our cells and tissues transport cargoes to precise destinations within our bodies, and then applies this knowledge toward the design of “biologically-controlled” nanodevices for improved delivery of therapeutic agents to specific disease sites. Focusing on genetic conditions that cause metabolic, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular syndromes, as well as on a new transport pathway she helped discover, her goal is to gain non-invasive, efficient, and specific access within the body and its cells, to enable effective treatment of these life-threatening disorders and other maladies characterized by similar pathological traits.

Selected research activities

In 2017 and through her affiliation in University of Maryland, Prof. Muro was awarded a $1.5 million, 4-year R01 grant from the U.S. National Institute of Health for the project entitled “Targeted replacement of defective lysosomal enzymes in the lung and brain”, which aims to design new nanomedicine approaches to treat lysosomal disorders, a group of inherited and fatal conditions whose treatment remains largely unresolved.

She was also awarded a Maryland Innovation Initiative award from State of Maryland Technology Development Corporation, to develop a new fusion-enzyme therapeutic to treat types A-B Niemann-Pick disease, and she secured a Collaborative Research Agreement with Genisphere LLC, a nano-bio-technology company based on Pennsylvania, to advance a new 3DNA-based drug-carrier platform for diverse therapeutic applications.

Prof. Muro’s Maryland group published 7 articles in 2017, among them a highly innovative work (Kim et al., Biomaterials. 2017 Dec;147:14-25) describing for the first time the combination of targeting molecules and anti-phagocytic elements on the surface of drug nanocarriers, which significantly enhanced the specific tissue uptake of these therapeutic devices in preclinical animal models.

Two of Prof. Muro’s U.S. patents, filed through University of Pennsylvania, were granted in 2017 (“Targeted nanocarriers for intracellular drug delivery” and “Targeted protein replacement for the treatment of lysosomal storage disorders”).

She was also an invited speaker in the Frontiers in CNS Drug Delivery Symposium held in Berlin (Germany) and the Gordon Research Conference on Lysosomal Diseases held in Barga (Italy), and after joining ICREA and her host institution, IBEC, Prof. Muro participated as a keynote speaker in the International NanoBio&Med Conference 2017, where she spoke of “Receptor-targeted drug delivery: biological mechanisms and applications”.