Academic Staff
Hagar Ibrahim Labouta, B.Sc. (Alexandria), M.Sc. (Alexandria), Ph.D. (Saarland)
Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics

Bio narrative:

Dr. Hagar Labouta joins the College of Pharmacy with more than 15 years of research experience in drug delivery, pharmaceutical nanotechnology, nanotoxicology, and biomedical engineering. At the early stage of her research career, she became convinced that using nanostructures for drug delivery and diagnosis would revolutionize the pharmaceutical and biomedical fields. She completed her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical nanotechnology at Saarland University (Germany). Under the supervision of Prof. Marc Schneider, she focused on understanding the interaction of gold nanoparticles with skin layers using multiphoton microscopy. Upon completion of her Ph.D. studies, Dr. Labouta graduated with the highest honour, a summa cum laude. Her outstanding research achievements were also acknowledged with a prestigious award “Apotheker Jacob Prize” in 2012.

Dr. Labouta completed postdoctoral trainings in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Nanoscience at several international institutes. She obtained her first postdoctoral position at the biggest hub of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Germany, comprising several academic and industrial institutes. Within this hub, she joined the Drug Delivery Department, Helmholtz institute for Pharmaceutical Research (Germany) under the supervision of Prof. Claus-Michael Lehr where she focused on the development of cellular bioinvasive nanoparticles for drug delivery and infection control, as well as designing nanoparticle-based inhalations for the treatment of cystic fibrosis. 

Dr. Labouta’s dedication to excel in new research areas brought her to the University of Calgary (Canada), where she focused on other nanomedicinal research areas at the Department of Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. David Cramb and the Department of Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Kristina Rinker. The main focus of her research was tumour targeting and designing new platforms and frameworks for the in vitro assessment of cellular toxicity of nanoparticles. 

Her appreciation of the interdisciplinary scientist identity she developed over the years urged her to investigate the ways that interdisciplinary learning environments foster interdisciplinary research habits in students (future scientists and pharmacists). She became the first postdoctoral appointee in STEM education research in the history of Faculty of Science, University of Calgary. She received a grant through the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning to study interdisciplinary science learning.  She also received a curriculum award for her transparent assessment methods at the Nanoscience Program at University of Calgary for her transparent assessment methods based on her research.

Overall, Dr. Labouta has deep and comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the formulation and characterisation of a wide range of novel nano drug delivery systems for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications: polymeric and metallic nanoparticles, liposomes, as well as nanofibres prepared by electrospinning. In addition to the formulation skills in nano- and micro-systems, she is an expert in confocal and multiphoton microscopy techniques, as well as fluorescence spectroscopy. Moreover, Dr. Labouta is familiar with cell culture techniques. She has a long working experience with different skin models (human and tissue-cultured skin tissue). Her other research interests include experimental design using multivariant factorial analysis and modeling artificial intelligence. Dr. Labouta has a strong publication record and is a co-inventor on an international patent for the development of carrier systems for intracellular drug targeting. She has won several awards and fellowships including 2015 Innovation and Career Development Award by the Biomedical Engineering Society. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with several multi-disciplinary teams at 15 research institutes in Canada, Germany, Australia, USA, Egypt and Finland. She has also worked with the World Health Organization on two health-related projects.

As a pharmacist and nanoscientist, Dr. Labouta’s goal is to combine her knowledge and expertise in these fields to design and conduct research projects that would have high impact on healthcare and pharmaceutical industry.  

Program overview:

Nanotechnology, or more appropriately nanoscience, is a multidisciplinary branch of science that currently receives a lot of attention from researchers in the pharmaceutical and biomedical fields. Using nanoparticles in drug delivery and diagnostics offers several advantages over traditional formulations, such as modified pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution, site-specific targeting, reduced toxicity, prolonged release, improved stability and bioavailability.

Nanoparticles continue to be touted for their excellent theranostic potential however a globalized cause and effect model relating nanoparticle properties to their behaviour in biological systems has not been developed. The main overarching focus of this research program is in-depth understanding of the interaction of nanocomposites formed in vivo on administration of the native nanoparticles within the different biological compartments and translating this knowledge to arrive to predictive models for designing nanomaterials with optimal physicochemical attributes.

The knowledge generated from this research program could be employed directly for the development of novel drug delivery systems and diagnostic agents. It will potentially impact the entire nanomedicinal field by offering a solid basis for innovative design solutions. Furthermore, it is expected that this knowledge will influence national and international policies on the regulation of nanoparticles.

Research areas:

Applications of nanotechnology in pharmaceutical and biomedicinal fields including: 

  • Drug delivery and targeting with focus on tumor targeting;
  • Design of bio-inspired nanoparticles;
  • Trafficking of corona-decorated nanoparticles and their interaction with biological barriers;
  • Designing in vitro platforms for the assessment of biological efficacy of nanoparticles.

Education and training background:

2018-2019   Nanoscience research associate, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Calgary, Canada

2016-2018   Teaching Postdoctoral Scholar, Nanoscience Program, Faculty of Science, University of Calgary, Canada

2014-2016   Eyes-High Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science Biomedical Engineering Program, CMBR Lab (Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Research Lab), University of Calgary, Canada

2012-2014   Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Drug Delivery (DDEL), Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research-Saarland (HIPS), Germany

2009-2011   Ph.D. of natural sciences, Institute of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Dept. of Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, Saarland University, Germany

2004-2007   MSc. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmaceutics, Alexandria University, Egypt

1998-2003   BSc. in pharmaceutical sciences, Faculty of pharmacy, Alexandria University, Egypt

Select publications:

  • Hagar I. Labouta, Juliana Gomez, Christopher Sarsons, Trinh Nguyen, Jacob Kennard, Wayne Ngo, Kaisha Terefe, Nicolas Iragorri, Patrick Lai, Kristina D. Rinker and David Cramb, Surface-grafted polyethylene glycol conformation impacts the transport of PEG-functionalized liposomes through tumour extracellular matrix, RSC Advances, 2018, 8: 7697-7708.
  • Juliana Gomez, Amber L. Doiron, Robyn R. M. Steele, Hagar I. Labouta, Bahareh Vafadar, Robert D. Shepherd, Ian D. Gates, David T. Cramb, Sarah J. Childs and Kristina D. Rinker, Nanoparticle localization in blood vessels: dependence on fluid shear stress, flow disturbances, and flow-induced changes in endothelial physiology, Nanoscale, 2018, 10: 15249-15261.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Christopher Sarsons, Jacob Kennard, Juliana Gomez-Garcia, Kenrick Villar,  Hyungbok Lee, David T. Cramb  and Kristina D. Rinker, Understanding and improving assays for cytotoxicity of nanoparticles: what really matters?, RSC Advances, 2018, 8: 23027-23039.
  • Arianna Castoldi, Christian Herr, Julia Niederstraßer, Hagar I. Labouta, Ana Melero, Sarah Gordon, Nicole Schneider-Daum, Robert Bals and Claus-Michael Lehr, “Calcifediol-loaded liposomes for the local treatment of pulmonary bacterial infections”, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 2017, 118: 62-67.
  • Claus-Michael Lehr, Hagar I. Labouta, Sarah Gordon, Arianna Castoldi, Sara Menina, Rebecca Geyer, Annika Kochut and Petra Dersch, 2016, Methods and compositions of carrier systems for the purpose of intracellular drug targeting, International patent, WO 2016/024008 A1, filled August 14, 2015, and issued February18, 2016.
  • Kristina Malinovskaja-Gomez, Hagar I. Labouta, Marc Schneider, J. Hirvonen, T. Laaksonen, Transdermal iontophoresis of flufenamic acid loaded PLGA nanoparticles, European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2016, 89: 154-62.
  • Sara Menina, Hagar I. Labouta, Rebecca Geyer, Tanja Krause, Sarah Gordon, Petra Dersch and Claus-Michael Lehr, Invasin-functionalized liposome nanocarriers improve the intracellular delivery of anti-infective drugs, RSC Advances, 2016, 6, 41622-41629.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Anika Kochut, Petra Dersch, Claus-Michael Lehr, Bacteriomimetic invasin-functionalized nanocarriers for intracellular delivery, Journal of Controlled Release, 2015, 220(A).
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Sibylle Thude, and Marc Schneider, Set-up for investigating gold nanoparticle penetration through reconstructed skin and comparison to human skin, Journal of Biomedical Optics, 2013, 18(6): 061218.
  • Hagar I. Labouta and Marc Schneider, Interaction of inorganic nanoparticles with the skin barrier: Current status and critical review, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 2013, 9(1): 39-54.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Labiba K. El-Khordagui and Marc Schneider, “Could chemical enhancement of gold nanoparticle penetration be extrapolated from established approaches for drug permeation”, Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2012, 25(4): 208-218.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Martina Hampel, Sibylle Thude, Katharina Reutlinger, Karl-Heinz Kostka and Marc Schneider, Depth profiling of gold nanoparticles and characterization of point spread functions in reconstructed and human skin using multiphoton microscopy, Journal of Biophotonics, 2012, 5(1): 85-96.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Tobias Kraus, Labiba K. El-Khordagui and Marc Schneider, Mechanism and determinants of skin penetration of nanoparticles, Nanoscale, 2011, 3(12): 4989-4999.
  • Featured on the cover page of the journal:
    Hagar I. Labouta, D. C. Liu, L. L. Lin, M. K. Butler, G. E. Jeffrey, A. Raphael, T. Kraus, L. K. El-Khordagui, , H. P. Soyer, , M. S. Roberts, M. Schneider, T. W. Prow, Gold nanoparticle penetration and reduced metabolism in human skin by toluene, Pharmaceutical Research, 2011, 28(11): 2931-2944.
  • Hagar I. Labouta and Marc Schneider, "Tailor-made biofunctionalized nanoparticles using layer-by-layer technology", International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2010, 395(1-2): 236-242.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Tobias Kraus, Labiba K. El-Khordagui and Marc Schneider, "Combined multiphoton imaging-pixel analysis for semiquantitation of skin penetration of gold nanoparticles” International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2011, 413(1-2): 279-282.
  • Hagar I. Labouta and Labiba K. El-Khordagui, "Polymethacrylate microparticles gel for topical drug delivery”, Pharmaceutical research, 2010, 27(10): 2106-2118.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Labiba K. El-Khordagui, Abdullah M. Molokhia and Ghaly M. Ghaly, "Multivariate modeling of encapsulation and release of an ionizable drug from polymer microspheres", Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2009, 98(12): 4603-4615. 

Selected educational publications: 

  • Hagar I. Labouta, Natasha Kenny, Rui Li, Leslie Reid, David Cramb, “Novel dynamic and collaborative framework for curriculum review of a postsecondary program: adopting wisdom of practice”, Transformative Dialogues, in press.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Natasha Kenny, Patti Dijur, Rui Li, Max Anikovskiy, Leslie Reid, David Cramb, “Learning science by doing science: an authentic science process-learning model in postsecondary education”, International Journal for Science Education, 2018, 40(12): 1476-1492.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Jennifer Adams, David Cramb, “An integrative cultural model to better situate marginalized science students in postsecondary science education”, Cultural Studies of Science Education, 2018, 13(3): 785-796. 

Book chapters: 

  • Hagar I. Labouta and Marc Schneider, “Nanotechnology and the skin barrier: topical and transdermal nanocarrier-based delivery”, Clinical Nanomedicine section, Biomedical Engineering Handbook, 4th edition, 2014, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.
  • Hagar I. Labouta, Ulrich F. Schaefer and Marc Schneider, “Laser scanning microscopy approach for semiquantitation of in vitro dermal particle penetration” Methods in Molecular Dermatology, 2012, Humana press.

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