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Our Current Focus

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Cryogels for Macrophage Repolarization

We are developing injectable cryogels loaded with pro-inflammatory cytokines to treat breast cancer. Our cryogels aim to repolarize tumor associated macrophages from an M2-like phenotype to an M1-like phenotype through the delivery of cytokines and chemokines. A sequential release nano-in-cryogel biomaterial system that will delay the release of the cytokines relative to the chemokines is currently being developed. 


Controlled-release immunotherapy 

The low success rates of immune checkpoint-inhibitors in the treatment of ovarian cancer may be attributed to low bioavailability following administration. Microencapsulation techniques, such as the electrohydrodynamic atomization (EHD) or electrospray method, can prove useful in developing controlled-release biomaterials. In this project, we develop and categorize controlled-release microparticles for immunotherapy using EHD. 


Nanomedicine for Preterm Labor

Poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid drug delivery system for treating preterm labor and reducing incidence of preterm birth. The delivery system will reduce off-target effects, reduce placental transport, and provide sustain release of current clinically-utilized tocolytics. Our efforts will reduce the economic and medical burden of neonatal care for premature infants.

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Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Analysis

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Affinity Purification of EVs

Using the web-based Single-Cell RNA sequencing (ScRNAseq) tool Basepair, we are investigating the transcript abundance of olfactory receptors within M1 and M2 macrophages present in mouse mammary tumors. Olfactory receptors have been recognized as a biomarker for prostate cancer, but certain olfactory receptors were also previously found to be overly expressed in breast cancer cells. This project aims to probe further into the correlation between the olfactory recepters and breast cancer.

In our lab, we build bio-functionalized particles that capture extracellular vesicles for the study of colorectal cancer biomarkers. Our particles utilize antibodies conjugated to magnetic beads that will capture EVs in bio-fluids. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Bob Coffey at VUMC who has over 30 years of research experience in these particular EVs.

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