Gene Delivery



    Gene delivery has the potential to positively impact any disease caused by errant genes, such as cancer[2] and regenerative medicine.[3]  Our specific application is in altering responses of macrophages and fibroblasts to impact the fate of implanted biomaterials. Several challenges exist in escorting DNA from the blood stream to the cell nucleus. These include: extravasation out of the circulatory system, binding to specific cells, endolysosomal escape, localizing in the nucleus, and unpackaging. 



    We are interested in understanding how material properties impact each of these challenges to better understand how the host responds to biomaterials. Synthesis of novel libraries of materials carefully constructed to interrogate material properties sequentially, along with the development of new targeting moietites enables us to develop superior polymers for gene delivery.

Figure 1.  Polyplexes form spontaneously when mixing polycations with DNA through electrostatic interactions.[1]

Current Students

Yanhua Huang, Materials Science & Engineering Ph.D. student


  1. 1.D. W. Pack, A. S. Hoffman, S. Pun, P. S. Stayton. Design and development of polymers for gene delivery, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 2005, 4, 581.

  2. 2.A. El-Aneed An overview of current delivery systems in cancer gene therapy, Journal of Controlled Release 2004, 94, 1.

  3. 3.K. R. Cutroneo Gene therapy for tissue regeneration, Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 2002, 88, 418.