Immune Engineering Laboratory
The goal of the Jewell Lab is to develop biomaterials that generate immune responses with specific, tunable characteristics, an idea known as “immunomodulation.” This goal has two complementary thrusts: basic investigations to understand the interactions between synthetic materials and the immune system, and translational studies that exploit these interactions for therapeutic vaccines targeting cancer and autoimmunity. We use biomaterials that range from degradable polymer particles, to lipid carriers, to self-assembling and multi-functional materials. We study these materials in cells and animal models, incorporating tools from chemistry, engineering, basic biology, nanotechnology, and immunology. Our ongoing projects include design of vaccines and immunotherapies, understanding the interactions of biomaterials with lymph nodes and other immune tissues, harnessing self-assembly of immune signals to control immune function, and investigations of the materials we design in pre-clinical models of multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, melanoma, and pediatric cancer.