The Pearson Lab is a diverse, inclusive, supportive, multidisciplinary, and collaborative research environment that supports the production and dissemination of impactful science. The primary objective of the lab is to leverage nanotechnology and engineering approaches to gain control over dysregulated immune responses by rigorously investigating and pursuing the development of innovative and translatable solutions that affect cellular responses at the most fundamental level.
The objectives of the research group are multifaceted and include: (i) to utilize engineering approaches to develop biomaterials to precisely deliver therapeutic payloads by controlling nanobio interactions for the treatment of immunological disorders and cancer; and (ii) to develop immunomodulatory polymers to program immune cell functions for use as novel anti-inflammatory materials and polymer-based vaccines.
ENGINEERING NOVEL NANOPARTICULATE DRUG DELIVERY SYSTEMS TO INDUCE ANTIGEN-SPECIFIC IMMUNE TOLERANCE
Allergic diseases are a growing health concern in developed countries. Central to the allergic response are Th2 cells that produce cytokines that affect B cells, eosinophils, basophils, mast cells, and others that propagate inflammatory responses that may cause life-threatening symptoms. A need exists to develop therapies that act in an antigen-specific manner to eliminate allergic responses. This project will focus on developing critically important solutions that are safe, effective, and long lasting.
APPLYING ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES TO PROGRAM THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Inflammation is a central response initiated by the body to clear infectious pathogens. To treat systemic infection (bacterial), antibiotics are administered. Depending on the severity of the infection, TLR agonists are liberated in large quantities that can lead to cytokine storm and the development of shock. This project will focus on developing strategies to attenuate innate immune cell activation by pathogen-associated molecular patterns and damage-associated molecular patterns.
CONTROLLING NANOBIO INTERACTIONS THROUGH MOLECULAR DESIGN
The surrounding molecular environment and the accessibility of the targeting ligand plays a central role in determining the targeting efficiency of nanocarriers. However, in vivo, nanocarriers are faced with a number of biological barriers that act to diminish the drug delivery efficiency, especially the formation of a biomolecule corona. In this project, we will synthesize and test various polymer designs and nanocarrier formulations to identify solutions to improve nanoparticle targeting in vivo.