BME Seminar Series: James J. Moon, Ph.D.
Engineering Approaches to Regulate Immunity
Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Biological Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The immune system is a complex network of cells and organs that can detect and eliminate foreign pathogens by eliciting local and systemic immune responses. If we can engineer strategies to harness the potential of our own immune system, these new therapeutic approaches will transform the field of biomedicine, ranging from vaccines against infectious diseases to immunotherapies for cancer and autoimmunity. In this talk, I will discuss how fundamental principles of engineering in drug delivery and materials science can be utilized to control and manipulate the immune system. Specifically, I will describe my research efforts directed towards:
- The development of biologically-inspired nanoparticles that can mimic the key features of microbes to activate T-cells and B-cells
- Application of these nanoparticle vaccines in vivo to generate potent cellular and humoral immune responses against pathogens, including malaria sporozoites and HIV
- Synthesis of biomimetic hydrogels designed to deliver biological cargo with a precise spatial and temporal control
These new synthetic materials coupled with a powerful set of engineering tools offer unique opportunities to advance our understanding of the immune system and translate discoveries from basic immunology towards new diagnostics and immunotherapies.