The Therapeutic Biomaterials Laboratory designs and engineers novel nanoscale carriers based on genetically encoded materials, lipids, and polymers for the treatment of myocardial infarction and cancer. These will target to the site of disease, respond to changes in the microenvironment, and deliver nucleic acids and drugs to subcellular compartments.
Zip-code like sequences for reprogramming pathogenic exosomes
Although great advances have been made in the field of nucleic acids and drug delivery, the specificity of delivery still remains a problem. We are utilizing cutting-edge technologies to identify zip-code like sequences for more efficient delivery of nucleic acids for the treatment of myocardial infarction and cancer.
Regeneration of cardiac tissue
Coronary heart diseases are among the leading causes of death worldwide. After myocardial infarction, a significant number of cardiomyocytes undergo apoptosis and are replaced by non-contractile scar tissue. Our goal is to repair damaged cardiac tissue by re-establishing the muscle population with newly generated cardiomyocytes. In order to achieve this aim, we are designing novel biomaterials for reprogramming different types of cells to cardiomyocytes.
Genetically encoded materials – protein-based materials to target tumor-associated macrophages
Nanoparticulate drug carriers allow the delivery of enzymatically susceptible, highly unstable, and insoluble drugs to target tissues. One of the limitations of existing drug delivery systems is insufficient and non-specific drug release in the body that leads to toxic side effects for the patient. Our lab engineers genetically encoded nanomaterials/protein-based materials that are able to disassemble and release therapeutic drugs when exposed to disease-specific microenvironments. Tumor-associated macrophages are one of many targets we are interested in.