Adriana Avila-Flores
Department of Biological Sciences
Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Officer

Office: 026 Rouse Life Sciences Bldg.

Lab: 035 Rouse Life Sciences Bldg.

Address: 101 Life Sciences Bldg.
Auburn University, AL 36849

Phone: (334) 844-1634

Fax: (334) 844-1645



Ph.D. – Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
M.S. – University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, SPAIN
B.Sc. – Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, SPAIN

Research and Teaching Interests

The Avila-Flores laboratory is at the interfaces of biology, chemistry and physics. A primary focus is to design innovative nanomedicines for the treatment of different human diseases. Current research employs peptide-based materials that self-assemble into vesicular nanoparticles. These nano-vesicles have lipid-like properties including solute encapsulation, fusion and resizing. In cancer research, these nanoparticles are able to deliver therapeutic DNA and mRNA vaccines that can prevent or treat certain types of cancer.

Additionally, the laboratory is investigating new methods for gene silencing in insect models, by adding dsRNA associated with peptide nanoparticles to their diet. Gene silencing by feeding dsRNA in insects has great potential as a tool for pest management because it can reduce the off-target effect and slow down resistance development to chemical insecticides.

Selected Publications

1. McGraw E., Roberts J.D., Kunte N., Westerfield M., Streety X., Held D., Avila L.A. (2022) Insight into Cellular Uptake and Transcytosis of Peptide Nanoparticles in Spodoptera frugiperda Cells and Isolated Midgut. ACS Omega, 7 , 10933–10943.
2. Natarajan P., Roberts J. D., Kunte N., Hunter W. B., Fleming S. D., Tomich J.M., Avila L.A. (2020) A Study of the Cellular Uptake of Magnetic Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 17(6), 2208-2220.
3. McGraw, E., Dissanayaka, R. H., Vaughan, J. C., Kunte, N., Mills, G., Laurent, G. M., Avila, L. A. (2020) Laser-assisted Delivery of Molecules in Fungal Cells. ACS Applied Bio Materials, 3 (9), 6167-6176
4. Kunte, N., McGraw, E., Bell, S., Held, D., Avila, L. A. (2019). Prospects, challenges and current status of RNAi through insect feeding. Pest Management Science, 76(1), 26-41. 
5. Barros, S. M., Chandrasekar, R., Wilkinson-Nutsch, K. E., Yoonseong, P., Reeck, G., Tomich, J. M.,Avila, L. A.  (2019). Delivery of Lethal dsRNAs in Insect Diets by Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules. The FASEB Journal, 33(1_supplement), 785-4.  
6. Tomich, J., Wessel E., Choi J., Avila, L.A. (2019) “Nonviral Gene Therapy: Peptiplexes.” Nucleic Acid Nanotheranostics, 247–276.  
7. Avila, L. A., Chandrasekar, R., Wilkinson, K. E., Balthazor, J., Heerman, M., Bechard, and Tomich, J. M. (2018). Delivery of lethal dsRNAs in insect diets by branched amphiphilic peptide capsules. Journal of Controlled Release, 273, 139-146.  
8. Barros, S. D. M., Avila, L. A., Whitaker, S. K., Wilkinson, K. E., Sukthankar, P., Beltrão, E. I., and Tomich, J. M. (2017). Branched Amphipathic Peptide Capsules: Different Ratios of the Two Constituent Peptides Direct Distinct Bilayer Structures, Sizes, and DNA Transfection Efficiency. Langmuir, 33(28), 7096-7104.
9. Negou, J. T., Avila, L. A., Li, X., Hagos, T. M., & Easley, C. J. (2017). Automated Microfluidic Droplet-Based Sample Chopper for Detection of Small Fluorescence Differences Using Lock-In Analysis. Analytical chemistry, 89(11), 6153-6159.  

Google Scholar Page


Undergraduate Graduate
BIOL 4100
BIOL 5550
BIOL 6550

Last updated: 01/22/2024