The immune system is a network of molecular agents, cells, organs, and physiological structures that must work in concert to defend the body against infections of all types, as well as against cancer, while leaving healthy cells unaffected. It is both essential for mammalian life and generally extremely effective. Scientists have learned a tremendous amount about how the immune system works, though many challenges remain.
Immunology is central to many of the questions of biological science and medicine and the University of Chicago has broad and deep strengths in it. As understanding of the immune system deepens, immunobioengineering will become an increasingly powerful way to understand, manipulate, stimulate, and eventually control the immune system to address many conditions ranging from cancer and infections to allergies and auto-immune diseases.
IME brings the engineering design and fabrication component. Several laboratories have created synthetic (non-biological) vaccines that have been shown to be effective in stimulating the immune system against certain types of cancers (lymphoma) and pathogenic bacteria strep. The fact that these synthetic nanoparticle vaccines are non-biological and do not require additional chemicals to activate them removes many of the complications sometimes encountered in viral-based, or adjuvant-activated vaccines. This approach can be extended to other cancers and pathogen types (potentially HIV, staph, malaria). IME will also seek to engage the systems and computational bioengineering necessary to understand, as well as fluid mechanics and transport expertise to understand fluid and cellular movement through tissues to the lymph system. Hiring in this bioengineering theme in IME, combined with existing efforts at the University of Chicago, will revolutionize approaches to developing more potent therapies for the human immune system.
- Scientia’s Spring 2018 Feature Edition: Interviews with IME Faculty
May 20, 2018
- Double agents: Vessels that help cancers spread can also boost immune therapies
September 17, 2017
- Jeff Hubbell Wins 2017 Society for Biomaterials Founders Award
April 17, 2017
- Jun Huang wins NSF CAREER Award
February 14, 2017
Dean and Founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering
Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering and Deputy Director for Development
William B. Ogden Professor
Assistant Professor in Molecular Engineering
- All researchers