The Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Cluster Area seeks to create and apply cutting-edge biomaterials for high-impact biomedical applications and to create paradigm-changing approaches and systems for advanced drug delivery. At the scientific biointerfaces with the other 3 thrust areas (Cell & Tissue Engineering, Nanotechnology, and Microfluidics & Biosensors), novel biomaterials are created to solve critical issues of the field: guide tissue regeneration, design highly selective, robust and biocompatible sensors, and alter surface chemistry to improve tissue/microfluidic implant interfaces. Likewise, we thrive to deliver difficult drugs (proteins, peptides, siRNA, insoluble anticancer drugs, vaccine antigens) to hard to reach places (cancer cells, brain, eye, lymph nodes) and for prolonged periods of time (controlled release) in order to maximize therapeutic efficacy.
Our efforts in biomaterials include designing novel polymer-protein and polymer lipid composites for sensing of influenza virus, prostate cancer antigen and antibiotics. Surface engineering of biomaterials can lead to creation of non-wettable surfaces to control protein and cell adhesion, stem cell culture and differentiation. We blend and modify biocompatible polymers to improve mucoadhesion and stability of entrapped drug molecules. We crosslink phospholipid bilayers and develop lipid-peptide complexes to alter cell processing of biomaterials.
We collectively carry an extensive toolbox of drug delivery platforms such as mucoadhesive gels, biodegradable implants, multicompartmental polymer nanoparticles, cross-linked liposomes for antigen delivery, and lipoprotein nanodisks. These platforms deliver a wide range of drug molecules and vaccine antigens with a focus on large molecule stability and delivery. We seek out collaborations with in the UM Medical and Dental Schools to help apply our technologies in a broad spectrum of diseases. Examples of ongoing collaborations are the development of immunotherapies for cancer, delivery of HIV antigens, ocular implants, nanoparticles for targeted chemotherapy delivery, chronic delivery of cancer chemopreventive agents, protein and peptide delivery for treatment of diabetes, or the drug delivery for treatment of infections, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases.
The multidisciplinary nature of our cluster aids in the improved understanding of regulatory requirements and rigor of technology development needed to translate the research findings to ultimately FDA approved products. The entrepreneurial nature of our cluster members is evident by the number of filed patents, start-up companies, and out-licensed technologies currently in development. In our cluster area, we endeavor to do cool science, but, in the end, strive to bring practical products to the market place to help solve some of the most critical biomedical issues of our generation.