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Special Seminar - Synthetic Strategies for Overcoming Cell- and Tissue-Level Barriers to Drug and Vaccine Delivery
Date: February 14, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Bossone Research Enterprise Center, Room: 709

Christopher M. Jewell, PhD
Departments of Materials Science Engineering and Biological Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard University

Drug delivery continues to create challenges in medicine. These obstacles encompass tissue-level barriers such as ensuring cargo reaches the correct organs or tissues at appropriate concentrations, and cell-level barriers including cell internalization and endosomal escape. Thus, new clinically-feasible treatments require delivery systems that address both cellular- and tissue-level barriers. In this seminar I will discuss several materials strategies for controlling the delivery of DNA and vaccines in vitro and in vivo. One approach involves delivery of DNA from the surfaces of biomedical devices using nanoscale multilayered films assembled from functional nucleic acids and hydrolytically-degradable polycations. A second strategy allows DNA delivery to be turned “ON” or “OFF” in solution by modulating the redox-state of a ferrocene-containing lipid used to condense DNA cargo. At the tissue level, my work has focused on translational studies that target synthetic vaccines to lymph nodes, the “control center” that coordinates immune response. In this work we have combined intra-lymph node delivery – which has recently demonstrated great potential in human clinical trials – with biomaterial vaccine depots to generate extremely potent cellular immune responses. We are now expanding our work to design vaccines that generate immune responses with tunable characteristics (i.e., immunomodulation) using small molecule drugs, and we are testing this idea to enhance T cell response in HIV vaccines.

Dr. Jewell graduated from Lehigh University in 2003 with high honors, receiving a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a B.S. in Molecular Biology. He attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, completing his PhD in Chemical Engineering with Professor David Lynn in 2008. Following his graduate studies, Chris joined the Boston Consulting Group as a consultant in the Healthcare practice, where his work focused on R&D strategy development for leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients. In the fall of 2009, Dr. Jewell accepted a postdoctoral fellowship from the Ragon Institute to begin vaccine research at MIT with Professor Darrell Irvine in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering. Chris has authored and co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed papers and patent filings, and was the recipient of the 2011 T. Nagai Postdoctoral Achievement Award from the Controlled Release Society.

The Bossone Research Enterprise Center is located at the corner of 32nd and Market Streets.

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