My current primary research interests and expertise are developing self-assembling materials and novel nanoparticle carriers for gene/drug delivery, designing microfluidics-based formulation methods to rationally control nanoparticle assembly and properties, engineering new strategies and devices to facilitate sample preparation in electron microscopy for single particle reconstruction, exploring alternative strategies to facilitate protein crystallization success, and exploiting unique protein properties to develop protein-specific purification methods.
Below are selected examples highlighting some of my work in utilizing microfluidics to develop nanoparticle therapeutics and in improving protein structure determination. Additional information on these and other projects can be found in my publications.
Gene & Drug Delivery
Microfluidic Assembly of Nanoparticles
Continuous and segmented microfluidic strategies are being used as uniqe methods to drive the self-assembly of novel pendant polymer (e.g., hyaluronic acid-adamantane & cationic β-cyclodextrin) and polyrotaxane systems as therapeutics to facilitate gene and drug delivery. Currently targeted diseases are wide-ranging, including a variety of cancers and Niemann-Pick Type C disease. My strategies include developing materials poised to avoid many problematic factors in the field (e.g., efficiency, biocompatibility, and biodegradability). Further, microfluidic-mediated control of nanoparticle properties such as size, polydispersity, and complexation/decomplexation ability has been published and is presently being explored more rigorously.
Protein Structure Determination
Templated Protein Crystallization
Due to the general lack of rational methods to guide protein crystallization, schemes are in development for facilitating protein crystallization and allowing structural information to be obtained for previously "uncrystallizable" proteins. Affinity ligands provide the scaffold for templated crystallization in bulk solution (left) and at monolayer (thin film) interfaces (right).