Polymeric Biomaterials for Applications in Medicine

Funding Details
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Grant type: Foundation Grant
  • Years: 2015/16 to 2019/20
  • Total Funding: $2,140,739
Keywords
Principle Investigator(s)
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Project Summary

Overarching Direction of Research ProgramTo design biomaterials solutions to unsolved problems in medicine. To influence cell fate through local and targeted delivery strategies and engineered three-dimensional (3D) hydrogel microenvironments. We will design novel injectable hydrogels for local delivery to the injured spinal cord and brain, thereby circumventing the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We will create novel polymeric nanoparticles for targeted delivery of siRNA and chemotherapeutics in cancer. We will engineer 3D constructs to spatially control cell differentiation and migration. The underlining theme is based on my fundamental expertise in the design and synthesis of biomedical polymers. We will achieve success in innovation and translation that will ultimately advance health in the central nervous system (CNS) and cancer.Results will Advance Knowledge towards TranslationWe are tackling some of the critical bottlenecks of regenerative medicine, drug delivery and drug screening. A local, minimally-invasive delivery strategy circumvents the BBB with minimal off-target effects and enables endogenous cell stimulation, leading to greater brain cognition after stroke and enhanced motor function after SCI. A multi-faceted delivery strategy of siRNA, antibodies and chemotherapeutics achieves greater maximum tolerated doses and targeting than traditional strategies, leading to improved efficacy. A tissue mimetic hydrogel enables 3D culture of primary cancer cells, personalized medicine, high content drug screening in vitro and better in vivo predictions. By testing these strategies in pre-clinical models with our program experts, we enhance their potential for translation. We will continue to publish highly cited peer-review papers, patent our inventions and partner with industry to translate these inventions to products. Our future promise is predicated on our past success.Core ExpertiseI have advanced knowledge in the fields of biomaterials, drug delivery and tissue engineering. In my lab, we design biology-inspired polymers to overcome some of the key challenges in the field, advancing knowledge towards translation in the CNS and cancer. We have demonstrated tissue and functional repair in the CNS with endogenous cell stimulation. We have demonstrated innovative polymeric nanomicelles for targeted delivery and novel hydrogels for 3D cell culture for applications relevant to cancer. With 10,847 citations, an H-index of 64, 200+ papers and 32 patents, I am making an impact on advanced knowledge and its translation. My core expertise in bioengineering is complemented by program experts: Tator in spinal cord injury, tissue and functional analysis; Morshead in neural stem cell biology and stroke; Damha in oligonucleotide chemistry and stable siRNAs; Sidhu in antibody engineering and cancer; Muthuswamy in cancer matrix biology; and industry partners in each of these strategies.Mentoring and TrainingThe Shoichet Lab motto, “solving important problems – together,” underlines the collaborative environment that I foster. We advance knowledge towards translation. In order to launch successful research careers in industry, academia and government for students and post-doctoral fellows, I propose to train “T”-shaped scientists, with depth of knowledge in the design of biomaterials for applications in medicine and breadth of experience in soft skills - effective communication, teamwork, leadership, and translation.