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Biomimetic Nanocarriers to Address Bacterial Infections and Inflammation

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Biomimetic technology takes cues from nature’s elegant engineering and applies these principles to novel therapeutics. By endowing nanoparticle and microparticle scaffolds with complex, multivalent functionalities, biomimicry allows us to enhance the potency of drug molecules and vaccines without sacrificing patient safety. In particular, membrane coated nanoparticles, derived from native extracellular and cellular membranes present in nature, have demonstrated tremendous success treating and protecting against various diseases.

The first chapter of this dissertation explores biomimicry and its applications in nanomedicine in the context of bacteria. The remaining chapters of this dissertation apply these design principles to disease states. Through novel biomimetic designs, dosage requirements for effective treatment and vaccination are significantly reduced. Chapter two focuses on the design, fabrication, and application of extracellular membrane coated nanoparticles to treat lung disease. By endowing anti-inflammatory nanoparticulate cores with lung-tropic breast cancer exosome membrane, lung inflammation can be successfully managed with a lower therapeutic dose. The third chapter of this dissertation is dedicated to biomimetic vaccination against anthrax utilizing a known anthrax virulence mechanism. Macrophage membrane cloaked nanoparticles containing a potent adjuvant are further functionalized with an anthrax toxin to enable antigen-adjuvant co-delivery and single, low-dose vaccine protection.

Overall, the rational design principles presented in this dissertation serve as a framework to develop a wide range of highly efficient, low-dose biomimetic nanocarriers to address unmet clinical needs.

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This item is under embargo until April 14, 2025.