DeLouise Bio Nanomaterials Group
We manipulate materials on the micro, nano and molecular level scales to design biomedical devices for drug discovery and to investigative skin immune responses. A major focus is on skin environmental exposures and nanotoxicology. Skin is a barrier organ that is constantly exposed to exogenous insults (UVR, air pollution) including the intentional application of cosmetic products. There is increasing presence of nanomaterials with different shapes (e.g spherical, fibrous), sizes and compositions formulated in cosmetic products and the safety of these materials is unclear. Of particular interest are products that contain ultraviolet protective filters.
We investigate how nanomaterials and some organic UVR filters may alter skin adaptive immune responses particularly in the context of skin allergy. A second research focus is on using microbubble arrays for high throughput drug discovery. Microbubbles are spherical shaped cell culture compartments. The spherical architecture uniquely allows for the concentration of cell-secreted factors, which favors single cell survival, clonal proliferation and development of novel cell secretion assays. We use microbubble arrays to discovery therapeutic monoclonal antibodies by culturing single plasma B cells or hybridoma cells and detecting secretion of antigen specific antibodies. We have developed functional salivary gland tissue chip arrays that will be used to screen for radio protective drugs to prevent xerostomia; a common condition that effects head and neck cancer patients. Cancer cells grown in microbubble arrays treated with chemotherapeutic drugs allow for the discovery of drug resistant cells. It is hoped that by characterizing the drug resistant cells new therapies to prevent metastasis can be discovered.