Image of Polyak, Boris

Boris Polyak, PhD

Associate Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology & Physiology

  • Department:Surgery
  • Education: PhD - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2004); Postdoctoral Research Fellowship - The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (2004-2007)

Overview of Specialty - Magnetic Targeting Laboratory

The goal of our group is to explore the multiple interfaces between materials science, chemistry and biotechnology. A major focus is the study and development of biodegradable polymeric magnetic carriers to locally deliver drugs, nucleic acids and therapeutic cells. We also develop "smart" biomaterials for tissue engineering with controllable release of bioactive molecules, cell stimulation and magnetically driven cell or tissue assemblies.

Work in Progress

  • Developing formulations of biodegradable polymeric superparamagnetic nanoparticles for targeted delivery of drugs, nucleic acids (DNA and RNAi), and cells with a therapeutic potential (e.g., endothelial precursor cells or multipotent stem cells) to vascular stents or other magnetizable implants.
  • Investigating the therapeutic effects of targeted drugs, nucleic acids and cell therapies on vascular healing.
  • Developing controlled release systems that can be magnetically or thermally triggered to modulate release rates of bioactive molecules.
  • Synthesizing new biodegradable polymeric materials that could be used for preparation of multifunctional delivery systems.
  • Creating 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).
  • Utilizing of magnetically labeled cells and magnetic forces with or without magnetic scaffolds or templates in preparation of 2- and 3- dimensional tissue constructs suitable for transplantations.
  • Nanosurgery tools (e.g. carbon nano-pipettes) to deliver, probe and monitor cellular processes and control or alter cellular functions (collaboration with Dr. Haim H. Bau and Michael Schrlau, University of Pennsylvania).

In the News

"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)


Selected Publications

"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)

"Synthesis and characterization of a pyrrole-alginate conjugate and its application in a biosensor construction"
Khalil Abu-Rabeah, Boris Polyak, Rodica E. Ionescu, Serge Cosnier, and Robert S. Marks
Biomacromolecules, 6(6):3313-3318 (2005)

"Synthesis and characterization of a biotin-alginate conjugate and its application in a biosensor construction"
Boris Polyak, S. Geresh, and Robert S. Marks
Biomacromolecules, 5:389-396 (2004)

"Water toxicity detection by a panel of stress responsive luminescent bacteria".
R. Pedahzur, Boris Polyak, Robert S. Marks, and S. Belkin
Journal of Applied Toxicology, 24:343-348 (2004)

"Monitoring genotoxicity during the photocatalytic degradation of p-nitrophenol"
M. Shani Sekler, Boris Polyak, P.S.M. Dunlop, J.A. Byrne, and Robert S. Marks
Journal of Applied Toxicology, 24:395-400 (2004)

"A comparative study of gallstones from children and adults using FTIR spectroscopy and fluorescence microscopy"
Oleg Kleiner, Jagannathan Ramesh, Mahmoud Huleihel, Beny Cohen, Keren Kantarovich, Chen Levi, Boris Polyak, Robert S. Marks, Jacov Mordehai, Zahavi Cohen, and Mordechai Shaul
BMC Gastroenterology, 2:3-15 (2002)

"Bioluminescent whole cell optical fiber sensor to genotoxicants: system optimization"
Boris Polyak, E. Bassis, A. Novodvorets, S. Belkin, and Robert S. Marks
Sensors and Actuators B., 74:18-26 (2001)

"Antibody-based immobilization of bioluminescent bacterial sensor cells"
R.J. Premkumar, O. Lev, Robert S. Marks, Boris Polyak, R. Rosen, and S. Belkin
Talanta, 55(5):1029-1038 (2001)

"Optical fiber bioluminescent whole-cell microbial biosensor to genotoxicants"
Boris Polyak, E. Bassis, A. Novodvorets, S. Belkin, and Robert S. Marks
Water Science and Technology, 42:305–311 (2000)

Book Chapter

"Bioluminescent whole-cell optical fiber sensors"
Boris Polyak and Robert S. Marks
Book chapter in Handbook of Biosensors and Biochips, Editors: D. Cullen, C. Lowe, R.S. Marks, H.H. Weetall, I. Karube; John Wiley & Sons Ltd Publishers, London, UK (2007)


"Magnetic Cell Targeting to Stented Arteries"
Boris Polyak, Michael Chorny, Ilia Fishbein, Ivan Alferiev, Darryl Williams, Gary Friedman, and Robert J. Levy
American Heart Association, Chicago, Scientific Sessions
Supplement to Circulation, Vol. 114, No. 18. Page II-410, abstract 2034 (October 31, 2006)

"Magnetically Driven Non-Viral Gene Delivery Efficiently Transfects Cultured Smooth Muscle Cells and Inhibits Their Growth via Adiponectin Transgene Expression"
Boris Polyak, Michael Chorny, Ivan Alferiev, Kenneth Walsh, Gary Friedman, and Robert J. Levy
American Society of Gene Therapy 9th Annual Meeting, Baltimore
Supplement to Molecular Therapy, Vol. 13, Page S211, abstract 547 (June 2006)

"Magnetically Responsive Polylactide-Based Nanoparticles Potently Enhance Non-Viral Gene Transfer"
Boris Polyak, Michael Chorny, Ivan Alferiev, and Robert J. Levy
American Society of Gene Therapy 8th Annual Meeting, Saint Louis
Supplement to Molecular Therapy, Vol. 11, Page S360, abstract 930 (May 2005)


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

Academic Location

Department of Surgery
245 N. 15th Street
MS 413
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215-762-3386

Additional Information


Related Pages

Academic – Department of Surgery

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