Our research laboratory is interested in exploring novel strategies that apply stimuli-responsive systems for delivering therapeutics in dose-, spatial- and temporal-controlled fashions. By accumulating and integrating tools of biomolecular engineering, materials chemistry and micro/nano fabrication, we are adapting the concept of “artificial vesicles”, which are inspired by effective approaches found in natural particulates, from viruses to cells. Drug delivery through such vehicles can be specifically regulated by physiological signals, such as glucose, ATP and reactive oxygen species, the level or activity of which is often closely associated with many diseases, including diabetes and cancer. In particular, we are studying glucose-responsive synthetic formulations and devices for delivering insulin in a self-regulated manner, which mimics the function of pancreatic β-cells. We are also developing the “programmed” anticancer drug delivery systems that can respond upon the elements within tumor microenvironment or subcellular environment and sequentially release multiple drugs to their most active destinations. In addition to endogenous triggers, we are also interested in utilizing exogenous triggers, such as ultrasound and light to achieve spatiotemporal administration.

Key Words: Bioresponsive Materials/Formulations; Smart Insulin Delivery; Delivery of Immune Therapeutics; Bioinspired/Biomimetic Design

Featured Inventions: Bioresponsive Microneedle Patches (Smart Insulin Patch; Melanoma Patch; Blood Thinner Patch; Cell Patch); Platelet-Mimicking Nanomedicine; Liquid-Metal Nanomedicine; DNA Nanoclews; Elastic Drug Delivery

Project 1: Glucose-Responsive Closed-Loop Insulin Delivery (PNAS, 2015; Advanced Materials, 2016; Nano Letters, 2017; ACS Nano, 2017; Biomacromolecules, 2014; ACS Nano, 2013; ACS Nano, 2013;Chemical Society Reviews, 2014)


Smart Insulin Patch

Project 2: Local Delivery of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2017; Nano Letters, 2016; ACS Nano, 2016)

Project 3: Tumor Microenvironment/ Subcellular Environment-Triggered Programmable Delivery of Anticancer Drugs or Genome Editing Tools (Nature Communications, 2014; Nature Communications, 2015; Nature Reviews Materials, 2016; Advanced Materials, 2014; Advanced Materials, 2015; Advanced Materials, 2016; JACS, 2015; Angewandte Chemie, 2014; Biomaterials, 2015; Physiological Reviews, 2016)

Project 4: Mechanical Force-Mediated Controlled Drug Delivery (Chemical Reviews, 2016; ACS Nano, 2015; Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2014; Journal of Controlled Release, 2015)