Research

Nanomedicine and Biomaterials

Nanotechnology has generated a significant impact in nearly every aspect of science. Our research seeks novel nanomaterials and nanotechnologies in order to develop advanced drug delivery systems with the promise to improve health care. Highly interdisciplinary and translational, our research is focused on multifunctional, nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems. We seek to improve nanoparticle synthesis and formulation and its therapeutic efficacy. Additionally, we develop robust engineering processes to accelerate translation of nanoparticle-based drugs into the drug development pipeline. At the same time, we emphasize a fundamental understanding of the interface between nanomaterials and the biological system, all in order to aid in nanoparticle drug development.

res-1Developing Targeting Moieties for Nanoparticle Drug Delivery
Molecules that target biomarkers of a specific disease play an important role in nanoparticle drug delivery. These molecules, used in nanoparticle delivery systems, increase nanoparticle in vivo efficacy and significantly affect the biodistribution and pharmacokinetics of the uptake of such particles. We seek to develop advanced technologies, such as bacterial phage display and SELEX, in order to discover targeting moieties of high specificity and affinity, including small molecules, peptides, antibodies, and aptamers. Using these molecules, we can develop novel conjugation techniques and engineering processes to formulate particles that target a variety of diseases.

Therapies Using Biocompatible and Biodegradable Polymeric Nanoparticles
Using biocompatible and biodegradable polymers for targeted drug delivery not only improve drug safety, but also significantly shorten the timeline of drug development. We are particularly interested in using PLA- and PLGA-based drug delivery systems and strive to improve their therapeutic efficacy. We also develop novel chemistry to conjugate and encapsulate a variety of small molecule drugs. Finally, we explore methods that will further functionalize polymer backbones so that the polymer is suitable to carry both hydrophobic and hydrophilic therapeutic agents.

Understanding the Interactions of Nanomaterials and Biological Systems
We also emphasize a fundamental understanding of how nanomaterials interact with biological systems, such as cancer cells and cardivasculature. The performance of nanoparticle drugs often depends on the sensitive interplay between the multiple functionalities of the nanoparticle and its response to the biological environment, which, in turn, can impact the transport, distribution, and drug release of the nanoparticles. The knowledge of how nanoparticle properties change with correspondence to the biological environment can aid in the design of nanoparticle drugs. Using this knowledge, we can then control the physical chemical properties, composition, and formulation process of the nanoparticles themselves.

 


Reseach Support

Our work is supported by the USA National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Department of Defense, the Prostate Cancer Foundation through the directed philanthropic gift of Mr David H. Koch, and a Korea National Research Foundation Global Research Laboratory Award. If you are interested in research partnerships or supporting our efforts through philanthropic donations please contact Dr. Omid Farokhzad at ofarokhzad@bwh.harvard.edu.


 


Our Collaborators

  • Professor Robert Langer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Link]
  • Professor Ralph Weissleder, MD, Ph.D.,Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) [Link]
  • Professor Stephen J. Lippard, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Link]
  • Professor Philip Kantoff, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute [Link]
  • Professor Neil Bander, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, and New York-Presbyterian Hospital [Link]
  • Professor Ira Tabas, MD,Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center  [Link]
  • Professor Ulrich H. von Andrian, M.D., Ph.D.,Harvard Medical School [Link]
  • Professor Sangyong Jon, Ph.D., Bio-Nanomedicine LAB, KAIST [Link]
  • Professor Rohit Karnik,Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Link]
  • Professor Jinjun Shi, Ph.D., Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School [Link]