Biomedical engineers, now armed with a deeper understanding of immunobiology, have taken aim at modulating host immune responses to desired outcomes for improved diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Moreover, there is now a focus on developing biomaterial systems that harness the innate host immune responses to elicit beneficial and functional effects for biomedical applications.
Research efforts in the Immuno-modulatory Biomaterials Lab are focused on engineering novel, biomaterial systems to harness and manipulate the innate functionality of phagocytic immune cells (particularly dendritic cell) in a precise spatial and temporal manner, ultimately for therapeutic applications in immune-related conditions (e.g. type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and transplant rejection). Research aims also include the elucidation of biomaterial-immune cell interactions, which could be instructive for innovative biomedical device design.
Currently, research efforts in the Lewis lab are centered on:
- Investigation and translation of a particulate platform system for autoimmune disease therapy
- Development of biologically-inspired polymers for immune modulation
- Uncovering the role of dendritic cells in the foreign body response to materials
- Understanding controlled non-lytic exocytosis in phagocytic cells