Cell Adhesion & Drug Delivery Lab

Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor


Overall Objective
Particle Design
Dynamics in Blood Flow
Comparative In-Vivo Study
Mathematical Modeling
Plasma Protein Adsorption

Fabrication Techniques
Bi-Functional Drug Carriers


Overall Lab Objective

Our research focuses on cell adhesion and drug delivery. Specifically, we are utilizing the physiological and cellular response to inflammation and corresponding blood hemodynamics to design bio-functionalized particles for targeted drug delivery and imaging.

Particle Design
Alex Thompson

Alex’s research involves designing micro/nanoparticles of various size, shape, density and material for use as vascular-targeted drug carriers.  By optimizing the physical parameters of these carriers to promote efficient adhesion to the endothelium, we can ultimately improve disease treatment by providing localized delivery of potent therapeutics and imaging agents specifically to diseased tissue via the circulation.  To date, his research has shown that the interplay between particle parameters (such as size and shape) and blood flow hemodynamics plays a major role in the ability of particles to marginate (localize and adhere) to inflamed endothelium both in vitro and in vivo.

Dynamics in Blood Flow
Peter Onyskiw

Peter’s research investigates particle-blood cell dynamics in blood flow.  Specifically, Peter is interested in whether inflammation targeted particles influence the inflammatory response of leukocytes to an inflamed endothelial monolayer and if leukocyte adhesion is effected by carrier design parameters (carrier size, shape, and targeted ligand density).  Along with particle-blood cell dynamics, he also investigates the influence of surface-grafted poly(ethylene glycol) chains and the adhesion of targeted drug carriers in blood flow.    

Hemodynamics and Comparative In-Vivo Study
Katawut Namdee

Katawut’s research involves elucidating the potential role of hemodynamics and size and shape in prescribing the binding efficiency of vascular-targeted carriers in flow via microfluidic flow channel assays. Specifically, particles conjugated with sialyl Lewis-a , a ligand specific to the endothelial- expressed selectin, and with diameters ranging from 200 nm up to 5 mm were evaluated in a micro-chamber for their ability to effectively bind activated endothelial cells (aECs) in blood flow. Moreover, Kata also investigates the role of physical properties of carriers on the eventual in vivo binding efficiency to the vascular wall. Instead of mimicking physiological conditions, his experiments are done in animal model for comparison with in vitro study, which can allows extrapolation of in vivo prediction of particle binding to human.    

Mathematical Modeling of Blood Flow
Dr. Mariana Carrasco-Teja

Dr. Carrasco-Teja's current research interests lie in the mathematical modeling of blood flow in the micro-scale. She's currently working on an algorithm to accurately represent the interaction between rigid micro and nano particles with blood cells in flow to mimic the behavior of VTCs of different shapes and sizes. She works in conjunction with Prof. Veerapaneni in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Michigan.

Interaction of Two Vesicles in Unbounded, Circular Flow

Plasma Protein Adsorption
Daniel Sobczynski

Daniel’s current research is focused on the effect of plasma protein adsorption on adhesion of biodegradable vascular targeted carriers (VTCs) from human blood flow to inflamed endothelial cells.

Fabrication Techniques
Margaret Fish

Margaret's research uses photo-initiated hydrogel fabrication techniques and investigates the effect of deformability of particles in complex blood flow. In addition, Margaret studies the particle fabrication, targeting, and margination of other biocompatible polymers.

Biomaterials and Bi-Functional Drug Carriers
Ted Zaroff III

Ted is currently trying to figure out how the chemical make-up of a potential drug-carrier particle affects its ability to bind to the vascular wall in blood vessels. Current biomaterials of interest appear to bind poorly to the vascular wall compared to other materials, and it is not yet clear why this is. Enhanced understanding of why this poor binding occurs will help to engineer better biomaterial-particles for drug delivery. In addition, Ted is working with the Lahann Lab (also at Michigan) to pioneer the application of “Janus particles”, or micro- and nano-particles with two distinct faces made up of different materials. These novel particles may allow for bi-functional drug carriers that can combine specific beneficial attributes of multiple biomaterials (for example, one half of the particle could bind the vascular wall while the other half stops the body from degrading the particle).