Research

Current research focuses are Immunoengineering and Regenerative Medicine, utilizing systems and synthetic biology approaches to understand complex tissue dynamics and generate improved therapeutic platforms for multiple applications including autoimmunity and transplantation medicine (ie., type 1 diabetes), ophthalmology, and cancer.

Modulating Host response and Biomaterial/Medical device platforms

Previous work on deciphering and preventing immune-mediated host rejection of macroscale biomaterial and biomedical devices implants has enabled their expanded use in the body not only for significantly longer periods of time but also in ways not previously achievable. The ability to remove previous limitations imposed by immunologic attack and dense scar tissue overgrowth allows us to ask new questions aimed at improving implant design for optimizing integration with living systems at the cellular and anatomical levels. Efforts will include applications at numerous sites within the body.

Intravital imaging showing large scale infiltration by (green) immune cells attacking (pink) material implants during host rejection response. Immune cells can be seen leaving nearby tissues as they make their way onto and around device implants.

Tissue Engineering for Autoimmunity and Transplantation

Systems biology approaches will be applied to breakdown and understand complex tissue dynamics in order to engineer improved therapeutics to treat immune-mediated inflammatory diseases or, in more severe cases, instances of major cellular deficiency following immune attack and rejection such as with autoimmune-induced type 1 diabetes. Specific preventative efforts will be placed on eliminating immune rejection of intrinsic host tissues with secondary treatment options for preventing rejection of newly designed and transplanted tissue engineering constructs for tissue replacement following disease onset. These efforts will improve regenerative medicine and reconstruction efforts following surgical resection or tissue loss through disease or chemical and physical damage.

Investigation of complex cellular responses, visualizing individual cells as well as in concert with one another at the anatomical level. This includes probing immune interrogation of host tissue as well as engineered tissue constructs introduced into the body.

Immune modulation through Drug Delivery and Cellular Engineering

Development of improved (months to years) long-term drug delivery formulations will be leveraged to build upon earlier efforts in prevention of implant and tissue rejection for regenerative medicine. New applications in immune modulation will also be explored for applications in inflammatory disease and cancer. Lastly, cellular engineering will also be utilized to explore programmable synthetic biology means of long-lasting disease treatments.