hero image
Sasha Kabanov, Ph.D. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Sasha Kabanov, Ph.D. Sasha Kabanov, Ph.D.

Mescal Swaim Ferguson Distinguished Professor, Eshelman School of Pharmacy | UNC-Chapel Hill


Kabanov has conducted pioneering research that has considerably influenced current ideas and approaches in drug delivery and nanomedicine.





loading image


Dr. Kabanov comments on UNMC/Japan collaboration




Alexander “Sasha” Kabanov, Ph.D., Dr.Sci., is the Mescal Swaim Ferguson Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and co-director of the Carolina Institute for Nanomedicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining UNC-Chapel Hill in July 2012, Kabanov served for nearly eighteen years at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he was the Parke-Davis Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the Center for Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine, which he founded in 2004.

Kabanov has conducted pioneering research on polymeric micelles, DNA/polycation complexes, block ionomer complexes and nanogels for delivery of small drugs, and nucleic acids and proteins that have influenced considerably current ideas and approaches in drug delivery and nanomedicine. His work led to the first-in-man polymeric micelle drug (SP1049C) to treat cancer, which successfully completed Phase II clinical trial and is under further evaluation. He cofounded Supratek Pharma, Inc. (Montreal, Canada), which develops therapeutics for cancer, and Neuro10-9, Inc. (Omaha, Nebraska, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina), which focuses on diseases of the central nervous system.

Kabanov has published more than 240 scientific papers and has more than 100 patents worldwide. His work has been cited over 22,000 times (Hirsch index 81) and he was named the Thomson Reuters 2014 Highly Cited Researcher in pharmacology and toxicology. His cumulative research support in academia as principal investigator has been more than $54 million. His inventions have attracted nearly $60 million in private, foundation, and company-sponsored R&D funding in industry. He founded the ongoing Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery Symposium series in 2003, co-chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Drug Carriers in Medicine and Biology in 2006, was vice-chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Cancer Nanotechnology in 2015, and is the chair elect of this conference in 2017.

Kabanov received the Lenin Komsomol Prize in 1988, an NSF Career Award in 1995, the University of Nebraska ORCA Award in 2007, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Scientist Laureate in 2009, among other distinctions. He is also the recipient of a Russian Megagrant (2010). In 2013, he was elected as a member of Academia Europaea.

Industry Expertise (3)




Areas of Expertise (10)


Pharmaceutical Development




Life Sciences


Molecular Biology

Cell Biology

University Teaching

Accomplishments (5)

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (professional)



Academia Europaea (professional)


Elected member.

MegaGrant (professional)


Awarded in chemistry from the Government of Russian Federation.

Scientist Laureate (professional)


Designated by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award (professional)


Awarded by the University of Nebraska.

Education (2)

Lomonosov Moscow State University: Ph.D., Chemical Kinetics and Catalysis 1987

Lomonosov Moscow State University: M.S., Chemistry 1984

Affiliations (5)

  • American Society for Nanomedicine
  • Controlled Release Society
  • American Society of Gene Therapy
  • American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
  • American Chemical Society

Languages (2)

  • English
  • Russian

Media Appearances (3)

Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery

Radio In Vivo  radio


Guest: Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Kabanov, Mescal Swaim Ferguson Distinguished Professor, Director, Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy ...

view more

UNC scientists find new way to battle Parkinson’s disease



“This award is an enormously important step towards further successful commercialization of our very exciting cell technologies,” said Alexander Kabanov, director of the nanotechnology center ...

view more

Biotechnology to the Rescue

U.S. News  


One goal is to use nanotechnology to reach into the brain. This “secluded organ” is separated from the body by the blood-brain barrier, a series of ultranarrow capillaries that prohibit many drugs from passing through, says Alexander Kabanov ...

view more

Event Appearances (5)

A very high capacity polymeric micelles for drug delivery

2013 Annual Principal Investigators Meeting, NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer  Bethesda, MD


Polyion complexation and delivery

GRC Macromolecular Materials  Ventura, CA


Nanozymes for protein delivery to the brain, GRC Barriers of the CNS

Bridging Barriers to Treat CNS Disease  New London, NH


Polymer micelles from bench to bedside

GRC Drug Carriers in Biology and Medicine  Waterville Valley, NH


Polymeric micelles for drug delivery: From idea to clinics

Nanotechnologies in Cancer Diagnosis, Therapy, and Prevention. The New York Academy of Sciences  New York, NY


Articles (5)

Horizontal gene transfer from macrophages to ischemic muscles upon delivery of naked DNA with Pluronic block copolymers


2016 Intramuscular administration of plasmid DNA (pDNA) with non-ionic Pluronic block copolymers increases gene expression in injected muscles and lymphoid organs. We studied the role of immune cells in muscle transfection upon inflammation.

view more

Nanoformulated copper/zinc superoxide dismutase attenuates vascular cell activation and aortic inflammation in obesity

Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications

2016 Endothelial cell (EC) oxidative stress can lead to vascular dysfunction which is an underlying event in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The lack of a potent and bioavailable anti-oxidant enzyme is a major challenge in studies on antioxidant therapy. The objective of this study is to determine whether copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD or SOD1) after nanoformulation (nanoSOD) can effectively reduce EC oxidative stress and/or vascular inflammation in obesity.

view more

Nanoformulated copper/zinc superoxide dismutase reduces adipose inflammation in obesity


2016 An intimate association exists between oxidative stress and inflammation. Because adipose tissue (AT) inflammation is intricately linked to metabolic disorders, it was hypothesized that reducing oxidative stress would be effective in ameliorating AT inflammation in obesity.

view more

Towards nanomedicines of the future: Remote magneto-mechanical actuation of nanomedicines by alternating magnetic fields

Journal of Controlled Release

2015 The paper describes the concept of magneto-mechanical actuation of single-domain magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) in super-low and low frequency alternating magnetic fields (AMFs) and its possible use for remote control of nanomedicines and drug delivery systems.

view more

Core–shell–corona doxorubicin-loaded superparamagnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles for cancer theranostics

Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces

2015 uperparamagnetic iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are successfully used as contrast agents in magnetic-resonance imaging. They can be easily functionalized for drug delivery functions, demonstrating great potential for both imaging and therapeutic applications. Here we developed new pH-responsive theranostic core–shell–corona nanoparticles consisting of superparamagentic Fe3O4 core that displays high T2 relaxivity, bovine serum albumin (BSA) shell that binds anticancer drug, doxorubicin (Dox) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) corona that increases stability and biocompatibility.

view more