Research Profile

Piotr Kowalski

Biography

Dr. Kowalski is an HRB funded Emerging Investigator for Health and a special lecturer in advanced therapies at the School of Pharmacy, University College Cork. He received his Master’s degree in Biochemistry in 2009 from Jagiellonian University, Poland. He then moved to the Netherlands to earn his PhD from Groningen University, focusing on the development of lipid-based systems for selective delivery of siRNA to inflamed endothelium. Subsequently, he received his postdoctoral training at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratories of Prof. Daniel Anderson and Prof. Robert Langer. His multidisciplinary research focused on engineering novel biomaterials to enable the delivery of messenger RNAs to treat inflammatory diseases, cancer, and diabetes. After his postdoc, Dr. Kowalski joined an early-stage biotechnology company, Senda Bioscience, Inc., where he gained experience in the development and commercialization of next-generation nano-medicines. Dr. Kowalski has been the recipient of several international scholarships and awards and his work resulted in a number of high-impact publications, the co-invention of several patents on RNA delivery technologies, and the creation of a US-based biotech startup (Orna therapeutic Inc.)

Research Interests

I have a great interest in multidisciplinary biomedical research aimed at improving human health. My research is centered on developing Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs), in particular, novel clinically relevant drug delivery technologies to facilitate effective nucleic acid-based therapies aimed at high medical need diseases that lack effective treatment. Current work in my group focuses on engineering RNA-based therapeutics for the treatment of sepsis. We aim to explore the therapeutic potential of RNA molecules (such as short interfering RNAs and messenger RNAs) to treat and prevent multiple organ failure during sepsis by delivering these new class of RNA-based drugs to diseased cells to change the way the disease affects a patient's organs.

Key research areas:
  • nanotechnology
  • drug delivery
  • biomaterials engineering
  • gene therapy
Research metrics:

Research Grants

 ProjectFunding
Body
Start DateEnd DateAward
HRB Emerging Investigator AwardMiscellaneous03-JAN-2002-SEP-24€413,000.00

Publications

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2020)'Reduction of the therapeutic dose of silencing RNA by packaging it in extracellular vesicles via a pre-microRNA backbone'
Reshke, Ryan and Taylor, James A and Savard, Alexandre and Guo, Huishan and Rhym, Luke H and Kowalski, Piotr S and Trung, My and Campbell, Charles and Little, Wheaton and Anderson, Daniel G and Gibbings, Derrick (2020) 'Reduction of the therapeutic dose of silencing RNA by packaging it in extracellular vesicles via a pre-microRNA backbone'. Nature biomedical engineering, 4 (1):52-68 [DOI] [Details]
(2019)'MRNA Delivery For Therapeutic Anti-Her2 Antibody Expression In Vivo'
Rybakova, Yulia and Kowalski, Piotr S and Huang, Yuxuan and Gonzalez, John T and Heartlein, Michael W and DeRosa, Frank and Delcassian, Derfogail and Anderson, Daniel G (2019) 'MRNA Delivery For Therapeutic Anti-Her2 Antibody Expression In Vivo'. Molecular Therapy, [DOI] [Details]
(2019)'Endothelial miR-30c suppresses tumor growth via inhibition of TGF-ß-induced Serpine1'
McCann, James V and Xiao, Lin and Kim, Dae and Khan, Omar F and Kowalski, Piotr S and Anderson, Daniel G and Pecot, Chad V and Azam, Salma H and Parker, Joel S and Tsai, Yihsuan S and Wolberg, Alisa S and Turner, Stephen D and Tatsumi, Kohei and Mackman, Nigel and Dudley, Andrew C (2019) 'Endothelial miR-30c suppresses tumor growth via inhibition of TGF-ß-induced Serpine1'. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 130 (4):1654-1670 [DOI] [Details]
(2019)'Delivering the Messenger: Advances in Technologies for Therapeutic mRNA Delivery'
Kowalski, Piotr S and Rudra, Arnab and Miao, Lei and Anderson, Daniel G (2019) 'Delivering the Messenger: Advances in Technologies for Therapeutic mRNA Delivery'. Molecular Therapy, [DOI] [Details]
(2019)'RNA Circularization Diminishes Immunogenicity and Can Extend Translation Duration In Vivo'
Wesselhoeft, R Alexander and Kowalski, Piotr S and Parker-Hale, Frances C and Huang, Yuxuan and Bisaria, Namita and Anderson, Daniel G (2019) 'RNA Circularization Diminishes Immunogenicity and Can Extend Translation Duration In Vivo'. Molecular Cell, 74 (3):508-520.e4 [DOI] [Details]
(2019)'Long-term implant fibrosis prevention in rodents and non-human primates using crystallized drug formulations'
Farah, Shady and Doloff, Joshua C and Müller, Peter and Sadraei, Atieh and Han, Hye and Olafson, Katy and Vyas, Keval and Tam, Hok and Hollister-Lock, Jennifer and Kowalski, Piotr S and Griffin, Marissa and Meng, Ashley and McAvoy, Malia and Graham, Adam C and McGarrigle, James and Oberholzer, Jose and Weir, Gordon C and Greiner, Dale L and Langer, Robert and Anderson, Daniel G (2019) 'Long-term implant fibrosis prevention in rodents and non-human primates using crystallized drug formulations'. Nature Materials, 18 (8):892-904 [DOI] [Details]
(2018)'Smart Biomaterials: Recent Advances and Future Directions'
Kowalski, Piotr S and Bhattacharya, Chandrabali and Afewerki, Samson and Langer, Robert S (2018) 'Smart Biomaterials: Recent Advances and Future Directions'. Acs Biomaterials Science & Engineering, [DOI] [Details]
(2018)'Ionizable Amino-Polyesters Synthesized via Ring Opening Polymerization of Tertiary Amino-Alcohols for Tissue Selective mRNA Delivery'
Kowalski, Piotr S and Palmiero, Umberto and Huang, Yuxuan and Rudra, Arnab and Langer, Robert and Anderson, Daniel G (2018) 'Ionizable Amino-Polyesters Synthesized via Ring Opening Polymerization of Tertiary Amino-Alcohols for Tissue Selective mRNA Delivery'. Advanced Materials, [DOI] [Details]
(2018)'Engineering circular RNA for potent and stable translation in eukaryotic cells'
Wesselhoeft, Alexander R and Kowalski, Piotr S and Anderson, Daniel G (2018) 'Engineering circular RNA for potent and stable translation in eukaryotic cells'. Nature Communications, 9 (1) [DOI] [Details]
(2018)'Endothelium-targeted delivery of dexamethasone by anti-VCAM-1 SAINT-O-Somes in mouse endotoxemia'
Li, Ranran and Kowalski, Piotr S and Morselt, Henriëtte WM and Schepel, Ilona and Jongman, Rianne M and Aslan, Adnan and Ruiters, Marcel HJ and Zijlstra, Jan G and Molema, Grietje and Meurs, Matijs van and Kamps, Jan AAM (2018) 'Endothelium-targeted delivery of dexamethasone by anti-VCAM-1 SAINT-O-Somes in mouse endotoxemia'. Plos One, 13 (5) [DOI] [Details]
(2018)'Endothelial siRNA delivery in nonhuman primates using ionizable low–molecular weight polymeric nanoparticles'
Khan, Omar F and Kowalski, Piotr S and Doloff, Joshua C and Tsosie, Jonathan K and Bakthavatchalu, Vasudevan and Winn, Caroline and Haupt, Jennifer and Jamiel, Morgan and Langer, Robert and Anderson, Daniel G (2018) 'Endothelial siRNA delivery in nonhuman primates using ionizable low–molecular weight polymeric nanoparticles'. Science Advances, 4 (6) [DOI] [Details]
(2017)'Advances in the delivery of RNA therapeutics: from concept to clinical reality'
Kaczmarek, James C and Kowalski, Piotr S and Anderson, Daniel G (2017) 'Advances in the delivery of RNA therapeutics: from concept to clinical reality'. Genome Medicine, 9 (1) [DOI] [Details]
(2017)'Ly6Clo monocytes drive immunosuppression and confer resistance to anti-VEGFR2 cancer therapy'
Jung, Keehoon and Heishi, Takahiro and Khan, Omar F and Kowalski, Piotr S and Incio, Joao and Rahbari, Nuh N and Chung, Euiheon and Clark, Jeffrey W and Willett, Christopher G and Luster, Andrew D and Yun, Seok and Langer, Robert and Anderson, Daniel G and Padera, Timothy P and Jain, Rakesh K and Fukumura, Dai (2017) 'Ly6Clo monocytes drive immunosuppression and confer resistance to anti-VEGFR2 cancer therapy'. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, [DOI] [Details]
(2016)'Efficacy and immunogenicity of unmodified and pseudouridine-modified mRNA delivered systemically with lipid nanoparticles in vivo'
Kauffman, Kevin J and Mir, Faryal F and Jhunjhunwala, Siddharth and Kaczmarek, James C and Hurtado, Juan E and Yang, Jung H and Webber, Matthew J and Kowalski, Piotr S and Heartlein, Michael W and DeRosa, Frank and Anderson, Daniel G (2016) 'Efficacy and immunogenicity of unmodified and pseudouridine-modified mRNA delivered systemically with lipid nanoparticles in vivo'. Biomaterials, 109 :78-87 [DOI] [Details]
(2015)'SAINT-liposome-polycation particles, a new carrier for improved delivery of siRNAs to inflamed endothelial cells'
Kowalski, Piotr S and Kuninty, Praneeth R and Bijlsma, Klaas T and Stuart, Marc and Leus, Niek and Ruiters, Marcel and Molema, Grietje and Kamps, Jan (2015) 'SAINT-liposome-polycation particles, a new carrier for improved delivery of siRNAs to inflamed endothelial cells'. European Journal Of Pharmaceutics And Biopharmaceutics, 89 :40-47 [DOI] [Details]
(2014)'Effective siRNA delivery to inflamed primary vascular endothelial cells by anti-E-selectin and anti-VCAM-1 PEGylated SAINT-based lipoplexes'
Leus, Niek and Talman, Eduard G and Ramana, Pranov and Kowalski, Piotr S and Woudenberg-Vrenken, Titia E and Ruiters, Marcel and Molema, Grietje and Kamps, Jan (2014) 'Effective siRNA delivery to inflamed primary vascular endothelial cells by anti-E-selectin and anti-VCAM-1 PEGylated SAINT-based lipoplexes'. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 459 (1-2):40-50 [DOI] [Details]
(2014)'Anti-VCAM-1 SAINT-O-Somes enable endothelial-specific delivery of siRNA and downregulation of inflammatory genes in activated endothelium in vivo'
Kowalski, Piotr S and Zwiers, Peter J and Morselt, Henriëtte and Kuldo, Joanna M and Leus, Niek and Ruiters, Marcel and Molema, Grietje and Kamps, Jan (2014) 'Anti-VCAM-1 SAINT-O-Somes enable endothelial-specific delivery of siRNA and downregulation of inflammatory genes in activated endothelium in vivo'. Journal Of Controlled Release, 176 :64-75 [DOI] [Details]
(2014)'A critical role for Egr-1 during vascular remodelling in pulmonary arterial hypertension'
Dickinson, Michael G and Kowalski, Piotr S and Bartelds, Beatrijs and Borgdorff, Marinus and Feen, Diederik van der and Sietsma, Hannie and Molema, Grietje and Kamps, Jan and Berger, Rolf (2014) 'A critical role for Egr-1 during vascular remodelling in pulmonary arterial hypertension'. Cardiovascular Research, 103 (4):573-584 [DOI] [Details]
(2014)'VCAM-1 specific PEGylated SAINT-based lipoplexes deliver siRNA to activated endothelium in vivo but do not attenuate target gene expression'
Leus, Niek and Morselt, Henriëtte and Zwiers, Peter J and Kowalski, Piotr S and Ruiters, Marcel and Molema, Grietje and Kamps, Jan (2014) 'VCAM-1 specific PEGylated SAINT-based lipoplexes deliver siRNA to activated endothelium in vivo but do not attenuate target gene expression'. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 469 (1):121-131 [DOI] [Details]
(2013)'Anti-VCAM-1 and anti-E-selectin SAINT-O-Somes for selective delivery of siRNA into inflammation-activated primary endothelial cells'
Kowalski, Piotr S and Lintermans, Lucas L and Morselt, Henriëtte WM and Leus, Niek GJ and Ruiters, Marcel HJ and Molema, Grietje and Kamps, Jan AAM (2013) 'Anti-VCAM-1 and anti-E-selectin SAINT-O-Somes for selective delivery of siRNA into inflammation-activated primary endothelial cells'. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 10 (8):3033-44 [DOI] [Details]
(2011)'Targeted siRNA delivery to diseased microvascular endothelial cells—Cellular and molecular concepts'
Kowalski, Piotr S and Leus, Niek GJ and Scherphof, Gerrit L and Ruiters, Marcel HJ and Kamps, Jan AAM and Molema, Grietje (2011) 'Targeted siRNA delivery to diseased microvascular endothelial cells—Cellular and molecular concepts'. Iubmb Life, 63 (8):648-658 [DOI] [Details]
(2010)'Heparin Enhances Serpin Inhibition of the Cysteine Protease Cathepsin L'
Higgins, Wayne J and Fox, Denise M and Kowalski, Piotr S and Nielsen, Jens E and Worrall, Margaret D (2010) 'Heparin Enhances Serpin Inhibition of the Cysteine Protease Cathepsin L'. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285 (6):3722-3729 [DOI] [Details]

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2020HRB Emerging Investigator Award Health Research Board
2018Convergence Scholar Program Award Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine
2017JDRF Postdoctoral fellowship Juvenile diabetes research foundation (JDRF)
2017Conference travel grant Gordon Tang Goodwin Student Support Fund
2016Kochi Institute Travel fellowship Koch Institute For Integrative Cancer Research
2014Best oral presentation award The Cardio Vascular Conference, Ermelo, The Netherlands
2012Jan Kornelis de Cock-Stichting personal grant Jan Kornelis de Cock-Stichting
2010Jan Kornelis de Cock-Stichting personal grant Jan Kornelis de Cock-Stichting
2010Best poster award GUIDE early summer meeting, Groningen, The Netherlands
2008Undergraduate Research Experience and Knowledge Award (UREKA) University College Dublin
2007Leonardo da Vinci undegraduate fellowship Leonardo da Vinci - Lifelong Learning Programme

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO) Member30-OCT-16 /
Controlled Release Society (CRS) Member17-JUL-17 /

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
School of Pharmacy, University College Cork Principal Investigator02-MAR-20 /
Senda Biosciences, Inc., MA, USA Senior Scientist10-JUN-19 / 29-FEB-20
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Postdoctoral Fellow01-OCT-14 / 01-JUN-19

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
2014Groningen University PhDDrug delivery
2009Jagiellonian University MScBiochemistry

Outreach Activities

 Description

Business Post commentary: https://www.businesspost.ie/pharma-med-tech/comment-cutting-edge-pharma-research-can-bring-investment-to-ireland-dceac8fd

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation press release: https://www.jdrf.org/blog/2017/08/24/new-rna-based-approach-target-t1d/

Marble Center For Cancer Medicine press release: https://nanomedicine.mit.edu/piotr-kowalski

Science communication article written for ICEBERG: https://scienceunderthesurface.wordpress.com/2019/03/04/finding-the-sweet-spot-mesoscale-nanoparticles-can-help-deliver-drugs-to-kidney-cells/

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

My teaching philosophy is founded on four key principles: 1) become a role model for student interest and motivate them to understand and apply fundamental concepts 2) help students to develop critical thinking skills 3) promote unbiased, inclusive and collaborative environment 4) motivate student to further develop their skills and knowledge to challenge existing concepts. I am interested in teaching cross-disciplinary courses on drug delivery and pharmaceutics of Advanced Medicinal Therapy Products, and applying novel teaching and learning methods to deliver course content.

Research Information

Internal Collaborators

 NameInstituteCountry
Prof. Caitriona O'Driscoll University College CorkIRELAND
Prof. Liam O'Mahony University College CorkIRELAND

External Collaborators

 NameOrganisation / InstituteCountry
Prof. Grietje Molema University Medical Center GroningenHOLLAND
Prof. Hyung Chun Yale UniversityU.S.A.
Prof. Keehoon Jung Seoul National UniversitySOUTH KOREA
Dr. Matijs van Meurs University Medical Center GroningenHOLLAND

Contact details

  • Piotr Kowalski
    Principal Investigator
  • Cavanagh Pharmacy Building
    University College Cork
    Cork

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School of Pharmacy

Cógaisíocht

Cavanagh Pharmacy Building Room UG06 University College Cork

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