Research overview: Our laboratory focuses on engineering intelligent biomaterials for drug delivery, with the ultimate goal towards precision medicine. We are also interested in understanding and exploiting the interactions between biomaterials and biological systems for therapeutic applications. Our research is being conducted in a multidisciplinary and collaborative environment, bridging engineering with materials science, chemistry, biology, and health sciences. Specific research directions are:
1: Non-viral genome editing: Genome editing offers promising solutions to treat otherwise incurable genetic disorders by correcting DNA sequences or regulating gene expression. However, the delivery of active genome-editing machineries, such as CRISPR/Cas components, into target cells/tissues in vivo remains a challenge. We aim to design delivery systems to achieve precise and efficient genome editing for disease treatment.
2: Cold atmospheric plasma-mediated cancer immunotherapy: Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP), an ionized gas composed of charged species, radicals, and photons, generates at atmospheric pressure/room temperature and has demonstrated great promise for many biomedical applications, including cancer treatment. Our research in this line will focus on developing strategies for CAP delivery and synergizing CAP therapy with cancer immunotherapy. We will also discover the underlying fundamental knowledge of CAP on immune systems.
3: Biomaterials-based immunotherapy: Biomaterials-mediated modulation of immune systems has emerged as a promising solution for treating immune-dysfunction-related diseases. We focus on design and leverage biomaterials to reprogram favorable immune functions for treating diseases, including cancer, autoimmune diseases, and transplant rejection.
Guojun Chen#, Amr A. Abdeen#, Yuyuan Wang#, Pawan K. Shahi, Samantha Robertson, Ruosen Xie, Masatoshi Suzuki, Bikash R. Pattnaik, Krishanu Saha*, and Shaoqin Gong*, “A Biodegradable Nanocapsule Delivers A Cas9 Ribonucleoprotein Complex for In Vivo Genome Editing”, Nature Nanotechnology, 2019, 14(10): 974-980.
Guojun Chen#, Zhitong Chen#, Di Wen, Zejun Wang, Hongjun Li, Yi Zeng, Gianpietro Dotti, Richard E. Wirz*, and Zhen Gu*, “Transdermal Cold Atmospheric Plasma-Mediated Immune Checkpoint Blockade Therapy”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. (PNAS), 2020, 117(7): 3687-3692.
Qian Chen#, Guojun Chen#, Jiawen Chen, Jiawen Chen, Jingjing Shen, Xudong Zhang, Jinqiang Wang, Amanda Chan, and Zhen Gu*, “Bioresponsive Protein Complex of aPD1 and aCD47 Antibodies for Enhanced Immunotherapy”, Nano Letters, 2019, 19(8): 4879-4889.
Guojun Chen#, Renata Jaskula‐Sztul#, Corinne R Esquibel, Irene Lou, Qifeng Zheng, Ajitha Dammalapati, April Harrison, Kevin W Eliceiri, Weiping Tang, Herbert Chen*, and Shaoqin Gong*, “Neuroendocrine Tumor-Targeted Upconversion-Nanoparticle-Based Micelles for Simultaneous NIR-Controlled Combination Chemotherapy and Photodynamic Therapy, and Fluorescence Imaging”, Advanced Functional Materials, 2017, 27(8): 1604671.