Our long-range goal is to develop innovative drug and gene nanocarrier systems and their formulations for the regional delivery of therapeutics to and through epithelial barriers, with a focus on the lung epithelium.
We seek to achieve our objective by engineering carriers with controlled morphology, size, and surface chemistry so as to control their interaction (and thus of the drug molecules) with the physiological environment. Such nanocarriers are of great relevance as they provide opportunities to achieve temporal and spatial controlled release, so as to target the payload to specific tissues/cell populations/ intracellular organelles, and at the same time to protect sensitive cargo.
We study the interaction of the carriers at various biological interfaces, including in vitro and in vivo.
We use a combined experimental and computational strategy to probe these interfaces at different length scales. Other systems of interest include the maternal-fetal interface, targeting bacterial biofilms and the bone tissue.
Ours is a highly multidisciplinary team, involving visiting scholars, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students with different backgrounds form Molecular Biology, Polymer Science, Colloidal Physical Chemistry, Medical Sciences and Engineering.
Dr. da Rocha’s research is in the broad area of Nanomedicine and pulmonary drug delivery.
Dr. Xu’s research focuses on developing new nanomedicine for treating eye disorders, cancer, and other diseases.
Dr. Zhu's research focuses on pharmacoengineering of nanomedicines for the combination immunotherapy, gene therapy, and chemotherapy of cancer and immune-related diseases.