Steinbach Laboratory

Research Interests and Focus


Dr. Steinbach-Rankins’ laboratory seeks to design and develop drug, gene, and protein delivery vehicles that provide more efficacious prophylaxis and treatment against sexually transmitted viral infections, bacterial infections, and virus-initiated or reproductive cancers. Dr. Steinbach-Rankins utilizes her background in Materials Science Engineering and Bioengineering to design and develop drug, protein, and gene delivery vehicles that target physiologically difficult-to-deliver-to locations including mucosal, reproductive, oral, ocular, and tumor microenvironments. Some examples of the technologies she develops include polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) and electrospun fibers (EFs) as new multipurpose technologies to combat viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections in addition to providing targeted cancer therapies.
In addition to her interests in new strategies to prevent viral/bacterial infections and cancer, her research lab has collaborated to develop better delivery systems for cross-disciplinary applications. She has worked closely with the Departments of: Pharmacology & Toxicology, Dentistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Surgery, and Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences) to utilize these platforms to enhance therapeuticoutcomes. The resulting research contributions from these collaborations have included the: 1) Development of a new peptide-modified nanoparticles to enhance and understand transport in tumor vs. non-tumor tissue, 2) Fabrication and characterization of multipurpose antiviral and protein electrospun fibers to prevent and/or treat HSV-2 and HIV infections, 3) Design and assessment of multivalent peptide-modified nanoparticles against oral biofilm establishment; and 4) Utilization of surface-modified NPs to enhance the transport and therapeutics
of antitumor agents against retinoblastoma.

Dr. Steinbach-Rankins Google Scholar