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WEBSITE(S)| https://mchughlab.rice.edu/contact/

Research Areas

We are broadly interested in applying highly controlled fabrication methods to solve a variety of issues in drug deliver. In particular, we seek to direct the immune response using spatial and temporal control of biologics to overcome challenges in cancer and infectious disease. However, we are also working on highly predictable release platforms that can be used to increase drug efficacy, reduce off-target toxicity, and improve patient compliance. Although checkpoint blockade has proven extremely effective in some patients, its application is limited to a particular subset of the population who retains an immune-active tumor microenvironment. Our cancer efforts seek to develop microparticles that can be injected into the tumor to provide prolonged release of therapeutics that reestablish an immune-active environment and thereby increase the number of patients that can be effectively treated using cancer immunotherapy. Infectious disease occurs predominantly in low-resource settings where healthcare access is poor. This project aims to develop timed- and targeted-release systems that fit within the current clinical framework in the developing world (i.e. low cost and simple to administer) to reduce deaths due to infectious disease. By delivering antigens and adjuvants at the optimal times and locations, these microdevices have the potential to truncate vaccination schedules, improve vaccine efficacy, reduce the need for cold chain storage and achieve dose sparing.