109 Zina Pitcher Pl
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Our research interests focus on the development of nanoparticles for use as adjuvants in prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines and as tools for studying the key biological pathways leading to the induction of protective immunity. In particular, we are developing emulsion based adjuvants to drive more robust, durable, and broadly protective immunity towards the influenza virus. Current influenza virus vaccines offer suboptimal protection due to their low immunogenicity, particularly in immunocompromised populations, and to the limited cross-subtype protection they confer. The size and physicochemical properties of emulsion based adjuvants mimic several of the characteristics of viral and bacterial pathogens, allowing them to more effectively activate the immune pathways involved in natural infection as compared to traditional adjuvants. Using these adjuvants, we are also studying how they be harnessed to redirect the immune system in other disease models.
The other major focus of our laboratory is the development of dendrimer based nanoparticles for applications such as targeted and controlled delivery of drugs for antibacterial and anticancer therapeutics, and for the specific labeling of diseased cells for imaging and diagnostic applications. Our work employs a multidisciplinary approach, combining tools from biochemistry, biophysics and immunology.