Research Overview

Our research group focuses on innovating drug delivery, cellular engineering, and immunoengineering technologies for solving critical clinical challenges and facilitating clinical translation toward advanced medicine. Our ultimate goal is to leverage these technologies to improve the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse spectrum of diseases including cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, drug addictions, and inflammatory diseases. We explore the inspirations from intrinsic biology to fundamentally understand mechanisms underlying synthetic material-biology interactions and exploit these inspirations to develop simple but intelligent platforms for advanced therapeutics. Our research is highly multidisciplinary and collaborative, sitting at the intersections between pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, cancer research, and immunology. The current focuses of our group include: 

Fig.2g.tif

Natural Cell Inspired Drug Delivery

The body's own natural cells are capable of negotiating with biological barriers and have the intrinsic capability of navigating the body and homing to hard-to-reach tissues. We aim to leverage natural or engineered cells to design the next-generation drug delivery technologies for advanced therapeutics. We are interested in developing in vitro tools to probe the mechanism governing the interactions between cells and therapeutics and to instruct rational design of drug delivery systems for designer purposes. Another focus in this research area is to innovate application-driven cellular drug delivery platforms to improve the treatment of hard-to-treat diseases, such as cancer.

Representative publications

Engineering of Immune Cells for Cell Therapy

Cells as living entities have emerged as a disruptive approach for treating diseases in a way that traditional therapies can't. We aim to exploit diverse engineering tools including genetic engineering, synthetic biology, genome editing, and biomaterials approaches to precisely program and deliver cell therapies for designer purposes. We are especially interested in engineering cells for immunotherapy and immunomodulation. 

Screen Shot 2021-02-16 at 14.39.07.png

Representative publications

plga-dox-1.png

Biomimetic and Material-Driven Immunomodulation

Fine controlling and modulating the body’s own immune system can drastically impact the pathological outcome of disease conditions and can be a significant therapeutic interventional approach. We aim to take inspiration from natural pathogens/cells that have preferable interactions with the immune system to innovate biomimetic platforms for immunomodulation applications. Specific interests in this research theme focus on nanovaccine development and its applications in immunomodulation.

Representative publications