Drug Delivery & Imaging
The development of biocompatible delivery vehicles is of paramount importance for the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of diseases. Towards this goal, we are developing protein-based materials based on viral capsid constructs that can be recombinantly expressed in E. coli. These nanomaterials are modified using both traditional bioconjugation strategies and new reactions that have been developed in our lab. We are correlating the specific physico-chemical properties of the constructs with their cell uptake and in vivo biodistribution properties. This process involves a broad combination of analytical methods, cell culture experiments, radiolabeling, and in vivo testing.
In exploring different medical applications, we have attached biomolecules (peptides, DNA, antibodies), as well as small molecules (dyes, radioisotopes, MRI contrast agents, and chemotherapy agents) in a precise manner using bioconjugation reactions. This approach allows for the development of nanomaterials that can be used for a variety of applications, ranging from cancer treatment to atherosclerosis detection. Toward these goals, our lab has fostered many collaborations with the laboratories of Professors Ken Raymond, Alex Pines, David Wemmer, Jim Marks, Youngho Seo, Eric Shaqfeh, Mitch Berger, and others.