Joel Collier, Ph.D.
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Successful immunotherapies must raise both the correct strength and phenotype of an immune response. To treat a particular disease via the immune system, it can be challenging to discover what the optimally protective immune response may be and then reliably achieve it. In part the challenge arises from the fact that the overall phenotype of an immune response includes contributions from many different cell subsets, including T cells, B cells, and antigen presenting cells, all of which interact complexly to generate an integrated response. We have been developing supramolecular materials, primarily comprised of peptides and proteins, which serve as modular platforms for discovering and eliciting clinically important immune responses by engaging and modulating this cellular diversity. In this seminar, several different self-assembling components will be described, including synthetic fibrillizing peptides, expressed proteins that can be induced to self-assemble after purification, and coiled coil nanofibers displaying immune epitopes. This class of materials has surprising self-adjuvanting properties, which we have recently exploited towards several clinical goals. In one example, we are developing novel treatments for chronic inflammation by creating biomaterials that can raise therapeutic levels of TNF-neutralizing antibodies. In this system, the strength and phenotype of the immune response can be modulated and optimized by systematically varying the epitope composition, a task that is greatly facilitated by the materials’ non-covalent construction.
This presentation can be seen via videoconference using BlueJeans: https://bluejeans.com/979003372