ASSISTANT PROFESSOR - Starting in Fall 2022

Research Summary

Nanocarriers are nanomaterial-based drug delivery systems used to encapsulate and deliver a wide range of therapeutic cargos. Because nanocarrier-mediated drug delivery is a complex process regulated by an even more complex system (the human body), there is a lot to be learned about what mediates successful drug delivery from a biological perspective. In fact, engineering nanocarriers to improve accumulation of therapeutics at target disease sites remains an unmet challenge. As the complexities of both the biological environment and nanocarrier constructs present a major barrier to translational success, it is imperative to develop new tools and methodologies for fundamental and mechanistic studies at the nano-bio interface in a clinically meaningful way.

Research in the Boehnke Lab will use engineering, chemistry, and biology approaches to elucidate the materials and cellular characteristics required for successful nanocarrier-mediated drug delivery. By leveraging high throughput screening, omics, and machine learning, we will: 1) implement nanoparticle barcoding strategies for pooled in vitro and in vivo screening; 2) leverage nanocarrier-specific biomarkers to decouple the role of the biological environment in nanocarrier trafficking; and 3) leverage existing biological datasets to design weaponized nanocarriers for selective cell targeting and killing. Through this multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to nanomedicine, we will be able to engineer the next generation of targeted nanocarriers.

Research Areas


  • NIH NCI K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, 2021
  • Department of Defense Horizon Award, 2019
  • Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine Convergence Scholar, 2017
  • NIH Biotechnology Training Grant Fellowship, 2013
  • Stine Summer Research Award, 2010

Selected Publications

  • Boehnke, N.*; Straehla, J. P.*; Safford, H. Kocak, M. Rees, M.; Ronan, M.; Cheah, J.; Roth, J.; Koehler, A. N.; Hammond, P. T. “Massively Parallel Pooled Screening Reveals Genomic Determinants of Nanoparticle-Cell Interactions.” BioRxiv, 2021, DOI:
  • Boehnke, N.; Dolph, K. J.; Juarez, V. M. Lanoha, J. M.; Hammond, P. T. “Electrostatic Conjugation of Nanoparticle Surfaces with Functional Peptide Motifs.” Bioconjugate Chemistry, 2020, DOI: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.0c00384.
  • Zou, Y.*; Henry, W. S.*; Ricq, E. L.*; Graham, E. T.; Phadnis, V. V.; Maretich, P.; Paradkar, S.; Boehnke, N.; Deik, A. A.; Reinhardt, F.; Eaton, J. K.; Ferguson, B.; Wang, W.; Fairman, J.; Keys, H. R.; Dančík, V.; Clish, C. B.; Clemons, P. A.; Hammond, P. T.; Boyer, L. A.; Weinberg, R. A.; Schreiber, S. L. “Plasmalogen Plasticity Promotes Ferroptosis Susceptibility and Evasion.” Nature, 2020, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2732-8.
  • Correa, S.; Boehnke, N.; Barberio, A. E.; Deiss-Yehiely, E.; Shi, A.; Oberlton, B.; Smith, S. G.; Dreaden, E. C.; Hammond, P. T. “Tuning Nanoparticle Interactions with Ovarian Cancer through Layer by Layer Modification of Surface Chemistry.” ACS Nano, 2020, 14, 2224-2237.
  • Boehnke, N.*; Correa, S.*; Hao, L.*; Wang, W.; Straehla, J. P.; Bhatia, S. N.; Hammond, P. T. “Theranostic Layer-by-Layer Nanoparticles for Simultaneous Tumor Detection and Gene Silencing.” Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2020, 59, 2776-2783.
  • Correa, S.*; Boehnke, N.*; Deiss-Yehiely, E.; Hammond, P. T. “Solution Conditions Tune and Optimize Loading of Therapeutic Polyelectrolytes into Layer-by-Layer Functionalized Liposomes.” ACS Nano, 2019, 13, 5623-5634.
  • Boehnke, N.; Kammeyer, J. K.; Damoiseaux, R.; Maynard, H. D. “Stabilization of Glucagon by Trehalose Glycopolymer Nanogels.” Advanced Functional Materials, 2018, 28, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201705475.
Natalie Boehnke


Research Group

  • B.S., Chemistry, Purdue University, 2008-2012
  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California Los Angeles, 2012-2017
  • Postdoctoral Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nanotechnology, 2017-2022