Research

Here you will find information about the research projects being undertaken and/or supported by the Therapeutic Biomaterials Laboratory. Please contact Juliane Nguyen with any research opportunities you may have.

The Therapeutic Biomaterials Laboratory is interested in the design and engineering of novel nano-scale carriers based on genetically encoded materials, lipids, and polymers for the treatment of ischemia. These will target ischemic sites, respond to changes in the microenvironment, and deliver nucleic acids to subcellular compartments. Our work aims to improve cellular and physiological functions in ischemic tissues, reduce scar tissue, and improve our fundamental understanding of how nanomaterials interact with biological systems.

Regeneration of Cardiac Tissue

Coronary heart diseases are among the leading causes of death worldwide. After myocardial infarction, a significant number of cardiomyocytes undergo apoptosis and are replaced by non-contractile scar tissue. Our goal is to repair damaged cardiac tissue by re-establishing the muscle population with newly generated cardiomyocytes. In order to achieve this aim, we are designing novel biomaterials for reprogramming different types of cells to cardiomyocytes.

Genetically Encoded materials

Nanoparticulate drug carriers allow the delivery of enzymatically susceptible, highly instable, and insoluble drugs to target tissues. One of the limitations of existing drug delivery systems is insufficient and non-specific drug release in the body that leads to toxic side effects for the patient. Our lab engineers genetically encoded nanomaterials that are able to disassemble and release therapeutic drugs when exposed to disease-specific microenvironments.

Nucleic Acid and Drug Delivery - Signalling Molecules

Although great advances have been made in the field of nucleic acids and drug delivery, the specificity of delivery still remains a problem. We are investigating new technologies to identify myocyte-specific adhesion molecules and targeting ligands that can maneuver our drugs to their intended extracellular and intracellular sites of action.