Ms Anna Caprifico

Research project: Smart nano-capsule for targeted anti-cancer drug delivery


The BBB represents a hurdle for delivering drugs that treat CNS disorders. Current treatments cannot achieve an efficient transport of drugs through this barrier albeit the emerging use of nanoparticle (NP) drug delivery systems has been found crucial to overcome this issue. Polymeric nanoparticles made of polypyrrole-chitosan have recently been found to be advantageous in crossing the BBB and releasing drugs through shell solubilisation in the tumour's acidic environment. This qualifies polypyrrole-chitosan NPs as smart nanomaterials rendering drug delivery easily controlled by external stimuli. Modifying the structure of chitosan NPs with alkylglycerols has also been found capable to increase drug BBB permeability. In this project, a smart nano-carrier system made of polypyrrole/chitosan composite, where the structure of chitosan is modified with alkylglycerols will be formulated, followed by assays that use an in-house model of BBB to assess the novel NPs' effectiveness.


I completed my BSc/MSc in Biology at the University of Salento (Italy). I then moved to Belgium where I worked as Research Assistant at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research in Human and Molecular Biology (IRIBHM), Université Libre de Bruxelles. Next, I pursued my second MSc in Biomedical Science at Aston University, Birmingham, UK, and then moved to Cambridge working in a pharmaceutical company as Scientist in the Immunology field. In 2018 I joined Kingston University London where I am currently pursuing a PhD in Pharmacy. My current research focuses on chitosan-based drug delivery systems.

Areas of research interest

  • Pharmacy
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biology
  • Immunology
  • Chemistry


  • BSc in Biology, University of Salento, Italy
  • MSc in Biology, University of Salento, Italy
  • MSc in Biomedical Science, Aston University, UK
  • Associate Fellow Higher Education Academy


Caprifico, Anna E., Foot, Peter J.S., Polycarpou, Elena and Calabrese, Gianpiero (2020) Overcoming the blood-brain barrier: functionalised chitosan nanocarriers. Pharmaceutics, 12(11), p. 1013. ISSN (online) 1999-4923

Caprifico, Anna E., Polycarpou, Elena, Foot, Peter J. S. and Calabrese, Gianpiero (2020) Biomedical and pharmacological uses of fluorescein isothiocyanate chitosan-based nanocarriers. Macromolecular Bioscience, ISSN (print) 1616-5187 (Epub Ahead of Print)

Caprifico, Anna E., Polycarpou, Elena, Foot, Peter J. S. and Calabrese, Gianpiero (2020) Fluorescein isothiocyanate chitosan nanoparticles in oral drug delivery studies. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 41(10), pp. 686-689. ISSN (print) 0165-6147

Caprifico, A. E., Foot, P. J., Polycarpou, E., & Calabrese, G. (2021). Overcoming the protein corona in chitosan-based nanoparticles. Drug Discovery Today.