The lab's main research interests center around engineering approaches to prevent and treat diseases using new nanotechnology-based approaches

Porphysomes and PoP-liposomes

Liposome-like structures formed from porphyrin-phospholipid (PoP) can self-assemble and be used for imaging and therapeutic applications (Lovell et al., Nat Mater, 2011) We subsequently have found that PoP liposomes containing lower amounts of PoP can be permeabilized by near-infrared laser irradiation for on-demand drug release (Carter et al., Nat Commun, 2014). Doxil-like liposomes can be formed conferred with light-activatable properties by inclorporating just a small amount of PoP. (Luo et al., Biomaterials, 2016). This approach is effective in a large rat tumors (Carter et al., Mol Cancer Ther, 2019) and the mechanism is related to enhanced drug delivery (Luo et al., J Control Rel, 2019).

Surfactant-stripped micelles

We discovered that hydrophobic cargo can be dispersed in water with Pluronic (Poloxomer) surfactants and then low temperature processing can remove free and loose surfactant (Zhang et al., Nat Nano, 2014). This process can be used for therapeutic cargo (Zhang et al., Nat Commun, 2016) as well as for contrast imaging purposes (Zhang et al., Adv Mat, 2016)

Self-assembling vaccines

We are using a novel approach to immunogen formulation based on PoP liposomes that contain cobalt in the bilar (Shao et al., Nat Chem, 2015). This induces serum-stable particle formation of peptides and recombinant protein antigens leading to enhanced immune responses and convenient multiplexing approaches (Huang et al., Nat Nanotechnol, 2018).