We construct macroscopic biomaterials using nanoscale building blocks. Leveraging dynamic interactions, we use nanoparticles like liposomes to physically crosslink polymer networks to give rise to injectable biomaterials. We functionalize these advanced materials by engineering the surface chemistry of the nanoparticle building blocks, introducing capabilities like affinity-governed release.
We are developing nanotechnology directly from biological matter, using cells to generate bioactive nanovesicles. We use these nanovesicles as immunotherapeutics and explore them in the context of supramolecular biomaterials and scaffolds. With this approach, we preserve bioactive features from cells to create materials with biomimetic properties that allow us to study the intrinsic immunomodulatory properties of tumors, immune cells and stem cells.
Immune cell biomimicry
The immune synapse governs essential cell fate decisions that determine the nature of adaptive immune responses. Within this synapse, biological signals are tightly regulated both in space and time to achieve a particular outcome. Harnessing these capabilities is essential for enabling the growing field of cellular therapies, which require extensive reprogramming of immune cells.
To this end, we are designing self-assembling nanostructures that can precisely orient multiple biological signaling motifs. Our goal is to use this technology to pattern biomaterials to simulate the immune synapse to better understand and control immune cell differentiation.