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Afsaneh Lavasanifar, PharmD, PhD


Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences | Engineering

About Me


Ph.D, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta

Pharm.D, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran university of Medical Sciences


Academic Experience

Professor, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada 2011-Present

Adjunct Professor, Chemical and Material Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada 2009-present

Associate Professor, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada 2005-2011

Assistant Professor, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada 2001-2005

Lecturer, Pharmacy, Dr Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran 1992-1996 

Short Biography

Dr Lavasanifar's area of expertise and interest is Pharmaceutics and drug delivery. She is Professor in the Pharmaceutical Sciences division of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta and has a joint appointment with the Department of Chemical and Medical Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering in the same university. She is also the Scientific Chief Officer and Vice President of Meros Pharma, a spinoff company established based on the technology developed her lab. Her research is focused on the design and development of polymer based delivery systems that can increase solubility, modify the pharmacokinetic pattern, reduce toxicity and increase the efficacy of different therapeutic agents. The ongoing research projects in her laboratory include development of polymeric nano-carriers as systemic and regional delivery systems for cancer chemo/immunotherapy and development of stimulus responsive nano-gels for skin regeneration and treatment of hypertrophic scarring and fibrosis. Her research has been funded by grants from Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI); Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (AIHS) and Alberta Cancer Foundation (ACF). Dr Lavasanifar has more than 100 peer reviewed published/in press manuscripts in highly ranked journals in pharmaceutical sciences, 3 book chapters, several abstracts and numerous conference presentations. She is an inventor in 5 patent/patent applications on novel polymer based formulations for drug and siRNA delivery. She has been the recipient of the 2007GlaxoSmithKline/CSPS Early Career Award; the 2009 Sanofi-Aventis/AFPC award in recognition of outstanding research in Pharmacy and the 2013 TEC Edmonton Innovation makes sense prize. Dr Lavasanifar is the associate Editor of Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a member of the Editorial Board in Materials Sciences and Applications, and Iranian Polymer Journal. She has an active teaching program in both undergraduate and graduate levels in the area of pharmaceutics and nanotechnology for drug delivery. 

Lab Web site:

For more information regarding the patented formulation technology developed in her lab you can visit following published articles in Edmonton Journal and University of Alberta website:


1. Design and development of nanotechnology products for improving response to cancer chemotherapy. Research on this topic is pursued in two avenues: 

a. Development of polymeric nano-carriers for the targeted delivery of anticancer drugs. The mission of this research program is to develop innovative pharmaceuticals (with particular focus on nano-medicine) that offer bio-available, less toxic, and more effective alternativeness to current drugs in combating hard-to-treat and resistant cancers. Particular attention is paid to the development of engineered carriers that provide specific delivery of anti-cancer drugs to cellular and intracellular targets.

b. Development of polymer based nano-carriers for the tumor targeted delivery of modulators of drug resistant. It is the objective of this research to either silence the expression or inhibit the function of oncoproteins responsible for resistance to therapy in several tumors. 

2. Development of new biodegradable block copolymers for mucosal and regional delivery. This project is seeking development of a new family of biodegradable polymeric micellar delivery systems and thermo- and pH responsive hydrogels for the solubilization of poorly water soluble drugs and/or depot drug release. 

3. Development of nano-delivery systems for cancer immunotherapy and immunomonitoring- The nanoparticle delivery of therapeutic cancer vaccines to dendritic cells (DCs) for the modulation of T cell mediated immune responses constitutes is an alternative method that (in combination with targeted chemotherapy) has the potential to make an extraordinary world-wide advancement in cancer eradication. A major barrier to cancer immunotherapy is cancer-induced immune tolerance. The objective of this research is to exploit development of nanoparticulate based cancer vaccines that can provide a plat form for co-delivery of cancer antigens and adjuvants to DCs boosting immune response against cancer associated/specific antigens. A second objective under this project will seek design of tumor or DC targeted nano-delivery systems for overcoming immunotolerance against cancer vaccines. We also have an interest in the development MRI and PET nano-probes for DC and T-cell imaging in the context of cancer immunotherapy. 



PHARM 331 Pharmaceutics 1:

OE3 (fi 6) (second term, 6-1S-3 in 8 weeks). Principles of pharmaceutical dosage forms. Factors affecting the physical and chemical behavior of drug products. Rationale underlying the formulation and compounding techniques of pharmaceutical preparations.

 PHARM 361 Pharmaceutics 2:

OE3 (fi 6) (first term, 6-1S-3 in 8 weeks). Physicochemical principles of pharmaceutical dosage forms. Factors affecting the physical and chemical behavior of drug products and dosage forms. Rationale underlying the formulation and quality control of pharmaceutical preparations.

 PHARM 610 Advanced Drug Delivery Systems:

OE3 (fi 6) (first term, 3-0-0). The focus of this course is on the design and development of novel delivery systems for various treatment and diagnostic applications. A particular attention will be paid to the physicochemical principles behind the development of different drug delivery systems, their biological application and significance. Emphasis is given to polymer based systems and assembled nano-carriers for the delivery of therapeutic drugs, proteins, vaccines and genes. Prerequisite: Consent of Faculty.