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Boris Polyak

Boris Polyak, PhD

Associate Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology & Physiology

Department: Surgery, Pharmacology & Physiology


  • BSc in Biophysical Chemistry - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel (1998)
  • PhD - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel (2004)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship - The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (2004-2007)

Postgraduate Training / Additional Certifications

Professional Courses:

  • Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) Training Course, Scripps Research Institute (2008) organized by Dr. Jeanne F. Loring, Dr. Philip H. Schwartz and Robin L. Wesselschmidt. The course included diversified topics on isolation, cultivation and extensive characterization of hESCs
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy, Drexel University (2009)

Dr. Polyak is an associate professor in the Departments of Surgery and Pharmacology & Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Interests

Drug delivery; magnetic targeting; biomaterials; diagnostics; tissue engineering; nanotechnology


About the Magnetic Targeting Laboratory

The goal of our group is to explore the multiple interfaces between materials science, chemistry and life science. A major focus is on applications of magnetic phenomena in medicine and biotechnology. The core of our research is grounded on the versatile properties of magnetic nanoparticles and their use in a wide variety of therapeutic applications. These currently include:

  1. The targeted delivery of therapy, by guiding magnetic carriers associated with drugs, nucleic acids or loaded within cells towards certain biological targets
  2. Tissue engineering, by utilizing remote magnetic stimulation for control of cellular behavior and development of pre-vascularized functional tissue
  3. Magnetic resonance and near-infrared imaging

Work in Progress

  • Developing formulations of biodegradable polymeric superparamagnetic nanoparticles for targeted delivery of drugs, nucleic acids and cells with a therapeutic potential (e.g., endothelial cells or stem cells) to vascular stents or other magnetizable implants.
  • Investigating the therapeutic effects of targeted drugs, nucleic acids and cell therapies on vascular healing (collaboration with Profs. Gary Friedman, Kenneth Barbee, and Dr. Andrew Kohut, Drexel University).
  • Synthesizing new biodegradable polymeric materials that could be used for preparation of multifunctional delivery systems.
  • Developing magnetically controlled biodegradable 3D scaffolds for tissue engineering with tunable release properties of bioactive molecules (e.g., growth factors) and remotely controlled mechanical stimulation of cells grown in the scaffold (collaboration with Prof. Smadar Cohen, Ben-Gurion University, Israel).
  • Developing delivery systems that would be able to overcome the anatomical and functional barriers to the CNS. In particular, we focus on identification and targeting epileptogenic brain tissue (collaboration with Drs. Sara Eyal, Dana Ekstein, Prof. Shlomo Magdassi, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and Dr. Timothy Roberts, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).
  • Developing safe and efficient means for labeling neural stem cells, a "hard-to-label" transplant population of high clinical relevance (collaboration with Prof. Divya Maitreyi Chari, Keele University, U.K.).
  • Developing NIR-tumor specifics nanoparticles for real-time fluorescent detection of colitis-associated dysplasia (collaboration with Drs. David Stein and Zulfiya Orynbayeva, Drexel University). 

In the Media

"Magnet medicine: The use of magnets shows promise in improving the function of coronary stents. Other applications are also envisioned."
Philadelphia Inquirer (January 14, 2008)

"Magnetic Cell Therapy: A new technique uses a magnetic field to guide potential therapies to stents in clogged blood vessels" (January 9, 2008)


View all of Dr. Polyak's publications via Google Scholar

Magnetic Nanoparticle-Mediated Targeting of Cell Therapy Reduces In-Stent Stenosis in Injured Arteries
Boris Polyak, Mikhail Medved, Nina Lazareva, Lindsay Steele, Tirth Patel, Ahmad Rai, Menahem Y. Rotenberg, Kimberly Wasko, Andrew R. Kohut, Richard Sensenig, and Gary Friedman
ACS Nano, September 13, 2016

"Tracking inflammation in the epileptic rat brain by bi-functional nanoparticles"
Portnoy, Emma; Boris Polyak, Inbar, Dorrit, Kenan, Gilad, Rai, Ahmad, Wehrli, Suzanne, Roberts, Timothy, Bishara, Ameer, Mann, Aniv, Shmuel, Miriam, Rozovsky, Katya, Itzhak, Gal, Ben Hur, Magdassi, Shlomo, Ekstein, Dana, Eyal, Sara
Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine 12, 1335–1345 (2016)

"Magnetically actuated tissue engineered scaffold: insights into mechanism of physical stimulation"
Sapir-Lekhovitser Y, Rotenberg MY, Jopp J, Friedman G, Polyak B, Cohen S
Nanoscale, 8, 3386-99 (2016)

"Endocytotic potential governs magnetic particle loading in dividing neural cells: studying modes of particle inheritance"
Tickle JA, Jenkins SI, Polyak B, Pickard MR, Chari DM
Nanomedicine (Lond), 11, 345-58 (2016)

"How can we predict behavior of nanoparticles in vivo?"
Polyak B, Cordovez B
Nanomedicine (Lond), 11, 189-92 (2016)

"Mitochondria-Mediated Anticancer Effects of Non-Thermal Atmospheric Plasma"
Zhunussova A, Vitol EA, Polyak B, Tuleukhanov S, Brooks, AD, Sensenig R, Friedman G, Orynbayeva Z
PloS One, 11, e0156818 . (2016)

"Functional behavior and gene expression of magnetic nanoparticle-loaded primary endothelial cells for targeting vascular stents"
Zohra FT, Medved M, Lazareva N, Polyak B
Nanomedicine (Lond), 10, 1391-406 (2015)

"Metabolic and structural integrity of magnetic nanoparticle-loaded primary endothelial cells for targeted cell therapy"
Orynbayeva Z, Sensenig R, Polyak B
Nanomedicine (Lond), 10, 1555-68 (2015)

"Increasing magnetite contents of polymeric magnetic particles dramatically improves labeling of neural stem cell transplant populations"
Adams CF, Rai A, Sneddon G, Yiu HH, Polyak B, and Chari DM
Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine 11, 19-29 (2015)

"Cardiac Tissue Engineering in Magnetically Actuated Scaffolds"
Yulia Sapir, Boris Polyak and Smadar Cohen
Nanotechnology Jan 10;25(1) (2014)

"Magnetically actuated alginate scaffold: a novel platform for promoting tissue organization and vascularization"
Sapir Y, Ruvinov E, Polyak B, and Cohen S
Methods Mol Biol 1181, 83-95 (2014)

"Force dependent internalization of magnetic nanoparticles results in highly loaded endothelial cells for use as potential therapy delivery vectors"
Cristin MacDonald, Kenneth Barbee, and Boris Polyak
Pharmaceutical Research 29(5): 1270-1281 (2012)

"The promotion of in vitro vessel-like organization of endothelial cells in magnetically responsive alginate scaffolds"
Sapir Yulia, Cohen Smadar, Friedman Gary and Polyak Boris
Biomaterials 33(16): 4100-4109 (2012)

"Magnetic nanoparticle-based approaches to locally target therapy and enhance tissue regeneration in vivo"
Richard Sensenig, Yulia Sapir, Cristin MacDonald, Smadar Cohen, and Boris Polyak
Nanomedicine 7(9):1425-42 (2012)

"Particles and microfluidics merged: perspectives of highly sensitive diagnostic detection"
Tania Konry, Shyam Sundhar Bale, Abhinav Bhushan, Keyue Shen, Erkin Seker, Boris Polyak and Martin Yarmush
Microchimica Acta 9, 1-19 (2011)

"Time-varied magnetic field enhances transport of magnetic nanoparticles in viscous gel"
MacDonald C, Friedman G, Alamia J, Barbee K, and Polyak B
Nanomedicine 5, 65-76 (2010)

"Magnetically responsive paclitaxel-loaded biodegradable nanoparticles for treatment of vascular disease: preparation, characterization and in vitro evaluation of anti-proliferative potential"
Johnson B, Toland B, Chokshi R, Mochalin V, Koutzaki S, and Polyak B
Current Drug Delivery, 1, 7(4), 263-73 (2010)

"Magnetic targeting for site-specific drug delivery: applications and clinical potential"
Boris Polyak and Gary Friedman
Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, 6(1):53-70 (2009)

"High field gradient targeting of magnetic nanoparticles-loaded endothelial cells to the surfaces of steel stents"
Boris Polyak, Ilia Fishbein, Michael Chorny, Ivan Alferiev, Darryl Williams, Ben Yellen, Gary Friedman, and Robert J. Levy
PNAS, 105(2):698-703 (2008)

"Magnetically driven plasmid DNA delivery with biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles"
Michael Chorny, Boris Polyak, Ivan S. Alferiev, Gary Friedman, Kenneth Walsh, and Robert J. Levy
FASEB J., 21:2510-2519 (2007)

Contact Information

Research Office

Department of Surgery
245 N. 15th Street
Mail Stop 413
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215.762.3386