We have several areas of research interest broadly in the area of immunomodulation using micro/nanoparticles and other carrier systems. Check out Dr. Ainslie’s funding at NIH Reporter (link).
|IMPROVED FORMULATION OF VACCINES
We can significantly improve cellular vaccine response to safe subunit (e.g. protein) based vaccines by using Acetalated Dextran (Ac-DEX), an acid-sensitive, pH neutral, and tunable degrading biopolymer. We also focus on scalable methods of creating efficacious and safe vaccines. We have a review on Ac-DEX that highlights much of our vaccine work (Bachelder et al. 2017).
In addition, we have developed other polymers with a focus on formulating a universal influenza vaccine that would require fewer injections than current influenza vaccines and/or provide more broad protection. This work is often part of the NIH/NIAID's Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs). These polymers include metal-organic polymers and gels.
|ANTIGEN SPECIFIC TREATMENT OF AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES
In the same way that vaccines specifically prime the immune system towards a disease, we aim to turn-down the autoimmune response in an antigen specific manner, rather than the blanket suppression used currently to treat autoimmune diseases. We have several articles related to these therapies, some of which can be found here:
|THERAPY ELUTING SCAFFOLDS FOR TREATMENT OF GLIOBLASTOMA
We have developed biopolymeric nanofibrous scaffolds that can be used to deliver immune modulators or chemotherapies to treat glioblastoma. In contrast to current similar approaches like Gliadel, we can release therapies in a more controlled manner, and our scaffolds can line the tumor resection cavity. We have a review on our approach as well as other similar approaches here: Design of Biopolymer-Based Interstitial Therapies for the Treatment of Glioblastoma
|FORMULATION OF HOST-DIRECTED AND OTHER THERAPEUTIC COMPOUNDS
We apply both polymeric and liposomal carriers to delivery immunomodulatory drugs and/or therapeutics to phagocytic and other cells. A large focus of this work is on host-directed therapeutics which manipulate the mammalian host cell environment to make it less hospitable for the pathogen inside it, in an effort to reduce the emergence of drug resistance in that pathogen as well as potentially sensitize the pathogen to conventional antibiotics. We have a review on formulation of host-directed therapies (Varma et al. 2020).