Dr Pegah Varamini

NBCF Research Fellow

A15 - Pharmacy And Bank Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone (+61) 2 8627 0809

Biographical details

Dr Pegah Varamini is a researcher, lecturer and group leader within the School of Pharmacy. She is the leader of Breast Cancer Targeting-Drug Delivery Group. Dr Varamini was awarded the prestigious National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) fellowship and grant in Jan 2016. She completed her Doctorate degree in Pharmacy (PharmD) at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Iran, in May 2005. In 2009 she was granted the competitive Australian international scholarships, UQRS/IPRS, to pursue full-time PhD studies at The University of Queensland. She was awarded her PhD degree in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology in December 2012. She won awards and prizes during her PhD studies, e.g. 2012 Dean’s Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence highlighting her successful approach in performing a high-quality research. Dr Varamini lead a hormone-based peptide/vaccine delivery ARC-funded research project at The University of Queensland until December 2015 as a postdoctoral research fellow prior to being granted the NBCF fellowship and joining the University of Sydney in January 2016. She has published 24 peer-reviewed articles across 11 different fields (SciVal, 3/11/2016) that confirm her multidisciplinary research. Dr Varamini’s work was selected by the Australian Academy of Science in August 2016, resulting in her personal presentation at the inaugural Falling Walls Lab in Canberra (a gathering of 25 selected Australian and New Zealand researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators). Furthermore, NBCF has found her research both innovative and promising and the result was that she was the featured researcher in 2016 in multiple events and programs. Also her work is being published in NBCF 2016 annual report.

Research interests

Dr Varamini’s research interests and expertise are in different areas of pharmaceutical sciences including Cancer Targeting, Drug Design and Drug Delivery, Nano-Medicine/Nano-Formulation, Vaccine Delivery, and Natural Product Chemistry. Her major research focuses are: 1) targeted delivery of highly potent antineoplastic agents to breast cancer cells for the treatment of Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) and advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) via some overexpressed receptors (“Trojan Horse” approach); 2) development of advanced formulations for prevention and targeted therapy of breast cancer bone metastasis.

See this video for the bone metastasis project:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6GDkQO7oPk&feature=youtu.be

Teaching and supervision

Dr Varamini is currently the principal supervisor of one PhD students (Sepideh Khazeni), two MPhil ( Master of Phramacy) student (Nadeem Ahmad and Iram Irshad), an Honours Student (Gilbert Wai Kwan Li) and co-supervisor of a Stage 2 Medical Student (Jovana Babic). She has successfully supervised two PhD students and one Masters student until completion and was a direct lab supervisor of a third PhD student during her three-year postdoctoral fellowship at UQ. She was one of the initiators of a mentorship cohort program at SCMB, UQ and mentored 24 honours students (2013–2016).

Dr Varamini is a lecturer of the following Units of Study:

- Pharmaceutical Microbiology (PHAR5712)

- Physical Pharmaceutics (PHAR1822)

- Pharmaceutical Sciences (PHAR5515)

- Microbiology and Infection (PHAR2812)

- Physical Pharmaceutics and Formulation B (PHAR2823)

- Novel Therapeutics (PHAR4813)

Current research students

Project title Research student
Pharmacological evaluation of a peptide-based drug delivery system for targeted therapy of Triple Negative Breast Cancer Sepideh KHAZENI

Current projects

  1. Receptor-Targeted Delivery of Antineoplastic Agents to Breast Cancer Cells.
  2. LHRH-Receptor Mediated Targeting of Cancer Cells Using Curcumin Formulation
  3. Development and Pharmacological evaluation of an advanced formulation of curcumin to prevent breast cancer bone metastasis
  4. Novel LHRH-Functionalised Cylindrical Polymer Brushes for Targeted Therapy of Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
  5. Quantifying the application and types of any PD biomarkers used in preclinical and phase I targeted anticancer drug clinical trials.
  6. Chemotherapeutic potential of curcumin, ursolic acid and bisphosphonate nanoparticles in glioblastoma treatment
  7. The building of nanocomposite of nanodiamond-alpha lactalbumin for drug delivery.

Different HDR candidates and research visitors are involved in Dr Varamini's multidisciplinary projects including:

Primary Supervision:

  1. Sepideh Khazeni (PhD Candidate)
  2. Iram Irshad (MPhil Candidate)
  3. Nadeem Ahmad (MPhil Candidate)
  4. Gilbert Wai Kwan Li (Honours Student)

Co-supervision:

  1. Jovana Babic (Second Stage Medical Student)
  2. Naomi Kwei Yii Sia (Honours Student)
  3. Cindy Tran (Honours Student)

International Research Visitor Supervision:

  1. Ghada Aboueid

International PhD Exchange Student Supervision:

  1. Behdad Delavari

Associations

Sydney Catalyst

Cancer Research Network (CRN)

Lifespan Research Network

Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology

American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)

Australasian Pharmaceutical Science Association (APSA)

The Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI)

American Society of Iranian Pharmaceutical Scientists (ASIPS)

Iranian Association of Pharmacists

Awards and honours

A Fresh Scientist of the year (2018)

Sydney Catalyst 2018 Education and Travel Award.

Finalist of the Lifespan Collaboration Award, 2017

Was selected by Australian Academy of Science and presented at the first Falling Walls Lab Australia, Aug 24 2016, Canberra, Australia

The 2012 Dean’s Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence.

The best poster prize in APSA Conference, Dec 6-9, 2010, Brisbane, Australia.

First prize in AUS-CRS 4th annual meeting ($1000, Nov 25-26, 2010, Melbourne, Australia) towards attending the 38th Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Controlled Release Society, Aug 30-Jul 3, 2011, Maryland, U.S.A.

Ranked 2nd in basic science exam for the students of Pharmacy held at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences (Iran 2001).

Recognized as OUTSTANDING & EXCELLENT STUDENTSof Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in the academic year 2000-2001.

Recognized as OUTSTANDING STUDENT (Exceptional talent) according to the list of "State Educational Measurement Organization" (Iran, 1998).

In the media

Dr Varamini's International Profile

1.Organizer, Session Chair and Plenary Speaker at International Conference on Gastrointestinal Cancer and Therapeutics, October 29–30, 2018 at San Francisco, USA.

2.Keynote Speaker and Session Chair at 8th World Congress on Breast Cancer & Therapies, July 16-17, 2018, Melbourne, Australia.

3.Keynote Speaker at International Conference on Obsterics and Gynecology, June 21-23, 2018, London, UK

4.Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Scientific Consultant: providing strategic and technical consulting service to the foundation and its collaborators (2017–present)

5.Keynote invited speaker and session chair at “International Conference on Oncology and Cancer Therapeutics”, October 30- November 1, 2017, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

6.Collaborator and visiting scholar at University of California-San Francisco (2017 – present).

7.Collaboration with Buchanan Ocular Therapeutics Unit, The University of Auckland.

8.Collaboration with University of Nantes, France

9. Host for Prof. Abraham Domb, Professor of Biomaterials and Medicinal Chemistry through a successful application to the Sir Zelman Cowen Exchange program (July 2018).

Keywords

Pharmacology; Breast cancer; Drug design; Pharmaceutical; Targeted therapy

International links

France

(University of Nantes, France) Collaboration with Dr Elise Verron on targeting bone metastasis by using nanomedicine for local delivery of curcumin

United States

(University of California San Francisco (UCSF)) collaborative research with The Small Molecule Discovery Center (SMDC), in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF School of Pharmacy. The proposed project aims at developing a targeted drug delivery system based on a novel intracellular linker for treatment of Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC).

Selected grants

2018

  • Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund to Avi Domb; Varamini P; Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund/Academic Exchange Fellowship.
  • Novel LHRH-functionalised cylindrical polymer brush nanoparticles for targeted therapy of triple-negative breast cancer; Baxter R, Varamini P, Muellner M; Sydney Vital Translational Cancer Research/Seed Funding.

2017

  • Ultra-high-performance microbalance, XPR2; Varamini P, Duong H, Grewal T, Kayser V, Gelissen I, Chrzanowski W, Boddy A; University of Sydney, Faculty of Pharmacy/Equipment Grant.

2016

  • Receptor-targeted delivery of antineoplastic agents to breast cancer cells; Varamini P; National Breast Cancer Foundation/Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Selected publications

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Journals

  • Varamini, P., Rafiee, A., Giddam, A., Mansfield, F., Steyn, F., Toth, I. (2017). Development of New Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone-Modified Dendrimer Platforms with Direct Antiproliferative and Gonadotropin Releasing Activity. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 60(20), 8309-8320. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Mansfeld, F., Giddam, A., Steyn, F., Toth, I. (2017). New gonadotropin-releasing hormone glycolipids with direct antiproliferative activity and gonadotropin-releasing potency. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 521(1-2), 327-336. [More Information]
  • Pignatello, R., Musumeci, T., Graziano, A., Lo Furno, D., Varamini, P., Mansfeld, F., Cardile, V., Toth, I. (2016). A study on liposomal encapsulation of a lipophilic prodrug of LHRH. Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 21(6), 664-671. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Hussein, W., Varamini, P., Simerska, P., Toth, I. (2016). Glycosylation, an effective synthetic strategy to improve the bioavailability of therapeutic peptides. Chemical Science, 7(4), 2492-2500. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2016). Recent advances in oral delivery of peptide hormones. Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, 13(4), 507-522. [More Information]
  • Goodwin, D., Varamini, P., Simerska, P., D'Occhio, M., Toth, I. (2015). Design, synthesis and evaluation of a gonadotropin releasing hormone-based subunit vaccine in rams (Ovis aries). Vaccine, 33(12), 1453-1458. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2015). Evaluation of the biological properties and the enzymatic stability of glycosylated luteinizing hormone releasing hormone analogues. The AAPS Journal, 17(5), 1135-1143. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2015). Evaluation of the Biological Properties and the Enzymatic Stability of Glycosylated Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone Analogs. The AAPS Journal, 17(5), 1135-1143. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Varamini, P., Steyn, F., Toth, I. (2015). In vivo pharmacological evaluation of a lactose-conjugated luteinizing hormone releasing hormone analogue. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 495(1), 106-111. [More Information]
  • Chang, C., Varamini, P., Giddam, A., Mansfeld, F., D'Occhio, M., Toth, I. (2015). Investigation of Structure-Activity Relationships of Synthetic Anti-Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Vaccine Candidates. ChemMedChem: chemistry enabling drug discovery, 10(5), 901-910. [More Information]
  • Goodwin, D., Varamini, P., Simerska, P., Toth, I. (2015). Stability, permeability and growth-inhibitory properties of gonadotropin-releasing hormone liposaccharides. Pharmaceutical Research, 32(5), 1570-1584. [More Information]
  • Goodwin, D., Simerska, P., Chang, C., Mansfeld, F., Varamini, P., D'Occhio, M., Toth, I. (2014). Active immunisation of mice with GnRH lipopeptide vaccine candidates: Importance of T helper or multi-dimer GnRH epitope. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 22(17), 4848-4854. [More Information]
  • Stephenson, R., Varamini, P., Butcher, N., Minchin, R., Toth, I. (2014). Effect of lipidated gonadotropin-releasing hormone peptides on receptor mediated binding and uptake into prostate cancer cells in vitro. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 10(8), 1799-1808. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2014). The transport and efflux of glycosylated luteinising hormone-releasing hormone analogues in Caco-2 cell model: Contributions of glucose transporters and efflux systems. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 103(10), 3217-3224. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Blanchfield, J., Toth, I. (2013). Endomorphin derivatives with improved pharmacological properties. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 20(22), 2741-2758. [More Information]
  • Eskandari, S., Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2013). Formulation, characterization and permeability study of nano particles of lipo-endomorphin-1 for oral delivery. Journal of Liposome Research, 23(4), 311-317. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2013). Lipid- and sugar-modified endomorphins: novel targets for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 4(11), 1-7. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2013). Lipid- and sugar-modified endomorphins: novel targets for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 4, 1-7. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Goh, W., Mansfeld, F., Blanchfield, J., Wyse, B., Smith, M., Toth, I. (2013). Peripherally acting novel lipo-endomorphin-1 peptides in neuropathic pain without producing constipation. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 21(7), 1898-1904. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Mansfeld, F., Blanchfield, J., Wyse, B., Smith, M., Toth, I. (2012). Lipo-endomorphin-1 derivatives with systemic activity against neuropathic pain without producing constipation. PloS One, 7(8), 1-11. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Mansfeld, F., Blanchfield, J., Wyse, B., Smith, M., Toth, I. (2012). Synthesis and biological evaluation of an orally active glycosylated endomorphin-1. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 55(12), 5859-5867. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Hussein, W., Mansfeld, F., Toth, I. (2012). Synthesis, biological activity and structure-activity relationship of endomorphin-1/substance P derivatives. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 20(21), 6335-6343. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Solani, M., Ghaderi, A. (2009). Cell cycle analysis and cytotoxic potential of Ruta graveolens against human tumor cell lines. Neoplasma, 56(6), 490-493. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Javidnia, K., Soltani, M., Mehdipour, A., Ghaderi, A. (2009). Cytotoxic activity and cell cycle analysis of quinoline alkaloids isolated from Haplophyllum canaliculatum Boiss. Planta Medica: natural products and medicinal plant research, 75(14), 1509-1516. [More Information]

2017

  • Varamini, P., Rafiee, A., Giddam, A., Mansfield, F., Steyn, F., Toth, I. (2017). Development of New Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone-Modified Dendrimer Platforms with Direct Antiproliferative and Gonadotropin Releasing Activity. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 60(20), 8309-8320. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Mansfeld, F., Giddam, A., Steyn, F., Toth, I. (2017). New gonadotropin-releasing hormone glycolipids with direct antiproliferative activity and gonadotropin-releasing potency. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 521(1-2), 327-336. [More Information]

2016

  • Pignatello, R., Musumeci, T., Graziano, A., Lo Furno, D., Varamini, P., Mansfeld, F., Cardile, V., Toth, I. (2016). A study on liposomal encapsulation of a lipophilic prodrug of LHRH. Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 21(6), 664-671. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Hussein, W., Varamini, P., Simerska, P., Toth, I. (2016). Glycosylation, an effective synthetic strategy to improve the bioavailability of therapeutic peptides. Chemical Science, 7(4), 2492-2500. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2016). Recent advances in oral delivery of peptide hormones. Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, 13(4), 507-522. [More Information]

2015

  • Goodwin, D., Varamini, P., Simerska, P., D'Occhio, M., Toth, I. (2015). Design, synthesis and evaluation of a gonadotropin releasing hormone-based subunit vaccine in rams (Ovis aries). Vaccine, 33(12), 1453-1458. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2015). Evaluation of the biological properties and the enzymatic stability of glycosylated luteinizing hormone releasing hormone analogues. The AAPS Journal, 17(5), 1135-1143. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2015). Evaluation of the Biological Properties and the Enzymatic Stability of Glycosylated Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone Analogs. The AAPS Journal, 17(5), 1135-1143. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Varamini, P., Steyn, F., Toth, I. (2015). In vivo pharmacological evaluation of a lactose-conjugated luteinizing hormone releasing hormone analogue. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 495(1), 106-111. [More Information]
  • Chang, C., Varamini, P., Giddam, A., Mansfeld, F., D'Occhio, M., Toth, I. (2015). Investigation of Structure-Activity Relationships of Synthetic Anti-Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Vaccine Candidates. ChemMedChem: chemistry enabling drug discovery, 10(5), 901-910. [More Information]
  • Goodwin, D., Varamini, P., Simerska, P., Toth, I. (2015). Stability, permeability and growth-inhibitory properties of gonadotropin-releasing hormone liposaccharides. Pharmaceutical Research, 32(5), 1570-1584. [More Information]

2014

  • Goodwin, D., Simerska, P., Chang, C., Mansfeld, F., Varamini, P., D'Occhio, M., Toth, I. (2014). Active immunisation of mice with GnRH lipopeptide vaccine candidates: Importance of T helper or multi-dimer GnRH epitope. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 22(17), 4848-4854. [More Information]
  • Stephenson, R., Varamini, P., Butcher, N., Minchin, R., Toth, I. (2014). Effect of lipidated gonadotropin-releasing hormone peptides on receptor mediated binding and uptake into prostate cancer cells in vitro. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 10(8), 1799-1808. [More Information]
  • Moradi, S., Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2014). The transport and efflux of glycosylated luteinising hormone-releasing hormone analogues in Caco-2 cell model: Contributions of glucose transporters and efflux systems. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 103(10), 3217-3224. [More Information]

2013

  • Varamini, P., Blanchfield, J., Toth, I. (2013). Endomorphin derivatives with improved pharmacological properties. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 20(22), 2741-2758. [More Information]
  • Eskandari, S., Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2013). Formulation, characterization and permeability study of nano particles of lipo-endomorphin-1 for oral delivery. Journal of Liposome Research, 23(4), 311-317. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2013). Lipid- and sugar-modified endomorphins: novel targets for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 4(11), 1-7. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Toth, I. (2013). Lipid- and sugar-modified endomorphins: novel targets for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 4, 1-7. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Goh, W., Mansfeld, F., Blanchfield, J., Wyse, B., Smith, M., Toth, I. (2013). Peripherally acting novel lipo-endomorphin-1 peptides in neuropathic pain without producing constipation. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 21(7), 1898-1904. [More Information]

2012

  • Varamini, P., Mansfeld, F., Blanchfield, J., Wyse, B., Smith, M., Toth, I. (2012). Lipo-endomorphin-1 derivatives with systemic activity against neuropathic pain without producing constipation. PloS One, 7(8), 1-11. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Mansfeld, F., Blanchfield, J., Wyse, B., Smith, M., Toth, I. (2012). Synthesis and biological evaluation of an orally active glycosylated endomorphin-1. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 55(12), 5859-5867. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Hussein, W., Mansfeld, F., Toth, I. (2012). Synthesis, biological activity and structure-activity relationship of endomorphin-1/substance P derivatives. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 20(21), 6335-6343. [More Information]

2009

  • Varamini, P., Solani, M., Ghaderi, A. (2009). Cell cycle analysis and cytotoxic potential of Ruta graveolens against human tumor cell lines. Neoplasma, 56(6), 490-493. [More Information]
  • Varamini, P., Javidnia, K., Soltani, M., Mehdipour, A., Ghaderi, A. (2009). Cytotoxic activity and cell cycle analysis of quinoline alkaloids isolated from Haplophyllum canaliculatum Boiss. Planta Medica: natural products and medicinal plant research, 75(14), 1509-1516. [More Information]

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