PhD Defense: Charles Park

Immunoengineering Approaches for the Treatment of Cancer and Prevention of Infectious Diseases

WHERE: Off Campus Location

WHEN: January 15, 2021 1:00 pm-2:00 pmADD TO CALENDAR

PhD Defense: Charles Park: Immunoengineering Approaches for the Treatment of Cancer and Prevention of Infectious Diseases

NOTICE: This event will be held remotely via Zoom. The link will be placed below.


With the recent progress in technologies, analyzing detailed cellular interactions that constitute the immune system have become possible, and many more biological and engineering tools became within reach for precise investigation and modulation of immune responses. As a result, immunotherapies, such as anti-PD-1 antibody and chimeric antigen receptor T cells, have revolutionized cancer immunotherapy, while genome sequencing and nanotechnology allowed for the rapid development of various vaccines in response to the recent outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019. Here, first discussed is modulation of the immune responses using biomaterials, such as silica- or lipid-based nanoparticles and immunomodulating agents for cancer immunotherapy. My approach for immune modulation was to deliver vaccine or pattern recognition receptor-stimulating drugs using nanoparticles to enhance the activation of antigen presenting cells at the innate immune response stage, which leads to stronger adaptive immune responses. In addition, induction of a stronger chemokine gradient to recruit more T cells to tumor from the blood circulation was investigated. In the next study, use of lipid-based nanoparticle to formulate vaccines against infectious diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is introduced. Nanoparticle-mediated vaccine delivery increases the amount of antigen reaching lymph nodes to interact with immune cells. Also, co-delivery of adjuvants further induces stronger adaptive immune responses. Meanwhile, it is critical to preserve the epitope conformation when protein antigens are used for vaccine formulation, in order to induce functional neutralizing antibodies. The aim of the study was to co-load a subunit protein and an adjuvant into lipid-based nanoparticles while maintaining the structural intactness and induce enhanced antibody responses when vaccinated to animals. Overall, immune modulation strategies are introduced in therapeutic or prophylactic settings, where innate and adaptive immune responses were enhanced using biomaterials-based treatments.

Chair: Dr. James J. Moon