Dr. Urs Hafeli completed a bachelor of science in pharmacy at the Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich, Switzerland) and a doctor of philosophy in pharmacy at Paul Scherrer Institute/Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Dr. Hafeli is an associate professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC.
Dr. Hafeli enjoys teaching all aspects of drug delivery for both undergraduate (PHAR 220, PHAR 323) and graduate students (PHAR 592A, 510, 518, 525).
Research in the Hafeli Laboratory is primarily directed at fighting cancer with radioactive pharmaceuticals and the development of diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals to be used in different nuclear medicine procedures. He also enjoys exploiting nanotechnology and microtechnology for different drug delivery applications, including the development of painless microneedles and the use of microfluidics for the preparation of monosized microspheres. Under the guidance of Research Associate Dr. Kathy Saatchi, the Hafeli laboratory has a strong chemistry base that encompasses organic, coordination and polymer chemistry. Using these tools, Dr. Hafeli’s research includes the entire spectrum of drug research from the synthesis and radiolabelling of new molecules; the preparation of drug delivery carriers such as nanoparticles, microspheres, antibodies, and polymers; the careful evaluation of drug delivery systems in vitro and in toxicology experiments; and finally, efficacy testing in different in vivo models using many different imaging modalities (SPECT, PET, CT, MRI, optical imaging).
Radiopharmaceuticals, the general name for radiolabelled diagnostic and therapeutic agents, can take many different shapes including particles sized from tens of nanometers (= nanospheres) up to about 100 micrometers (= microspheres), viscous solutions and micellar/liposomal suspensions, sheets, metal implants such as stents (metal or plastic coils), and biodegradable films. The Hafeli laboratory is interested in preparing radioactively labelled drug delivery vehicles of all shapes, made from many different materials, and using them to kill tumours and prevent their reoccurrence.
“Innovator award of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.” Hafeli U, 2004.
“Pharmaceutical Sciences Award for Excellence in Translational Graduate Teaching.” Hafeli U, UBC, 2014.
“A Novel Immunostimulatory Polymer Conjugate to Enhance the Efficacy of Radiotherapy in the Treatment of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.” Hafeli U, Esposito T, Saatchi K. $150,000. Blueline Biosciences Inc (2015-2016).
“Investigating the Mechanism of Eradication of Multi Drug Resistant Bacteria by Inorganic (mixed metal oxides), Organic (antibiotic), and Protein-based Nanoparticles.” Hafeli U, Bach H. $461,760. Joint Programming
Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR) (2015-2018).
“Transcutaneous microsphere vaccine technology.” Dutz J, Hafeli U, Stoeber B, Kollmann T. $600,000. CHRP (2013-2016).
“Bombesin-Directed Magnetic Polymersomes for Cancer Therapy.” Hafeli U. UBC Vancouver, Blood Centre, May 20 (2015).
“Rhenium – A Very Special Element.” Hafeli U. UBC Vancouver, ISOSIM NSERC Create program, April 1 (2015).
“Hyperbranched Polyglycerols, a New Biomaterial.” Hafeli U. Biomaterials Day, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, U.S.A., April 11 (2014).
“Microfluidic Flow Focusing - an Effective Method for the Production of Monosized Magnetic Microspheres.” Hafeli U. 13th German Ferrofluid Workshop, Benediktbeuern, Germany, September 25 (2013).
“Functionalization and Pharmaceutical Aspects of Magnetic Nanoparticles.” Hafeli U. Plenary talk at Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft conference, Regensburg, Germany, March 10 (2013).