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PhD Defense

PhD Dissertation Defense: Ben Ou

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Event Details:

Title: Novel Biomaterials for Enhancing Spatiotemporal Control of Vaccine Delivery to Improve Immune Responses

Abstract: The recurring threat of new pandemics from emerging viral strains such as HIV and SARS-CoV-2 motivates the need for more protective and durable vaccines. Controlling the spatiotemporal delivery of vaccine components to mimic natural infections has been shown to greatly improve vaccine efficacy, and among existing delivery technologies, hydrogels and nanoparticles have gained increasing attention due to their abilities to improve the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and biodistribution of various vaccine cargo.

We present three novel bioinspired, self-assembled nanoparticle and hydrogel platforms to enhance the presentation and controlled delivery of SARS-CoV-2 and HIV vaccines. We have developed a platform of PEG-b-PLA nanoparticles decorated with Toll-like receptor agonists (TLRas) to increase the potency and biodistribution of TLRas compared to their soluble form. Similarly, we designed lipid-based nanoparticles incorporating saponin and other potent TLRa adjuvants. Finally, we have engineered injectable polymer-nanoparticle (PNP) hydrogels to achieve slow and sustained co-delivery of vaccines. Overall, we report on the development of novel biomaterials for the controlled display and delivery of molecular adjuvants and antigens to improve the subunit vaccines’ potency, breadth, and durability of protection.

Please contact Madelyn Bernstein for the Zoom link