Date(s) - 02/13/2013
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
Implanted biomaterials can elicit host immune responses ranging from complement activation and inflammation (i.e. innate immunity) to antibody production and cytolytic T cell responses (i.e. adaptive immunity). Because these responses can be detrimental to both host health and biomaterial efficacy, there is a significant emphasis placed on biomaterials that circumvent immune system recognition. However, biomaterials that exploit host immune responses hold significant promise for applications ranging from prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines to tissue regeneration. This talk will focus on self-assembled polypeptide nanofibers bearing folded protein ligands that modulate host immune responses to elicit a desired functional outcome. In particular, I will present recent work demonstrating that nanofibers bearing a folded protein antigen act as vaccines, eliciting robust serum antibodies against the antigen in the absence of additional immunostimulatory molecules. I will also highlight emerging work on peptide nanofibers engineered to direct immune responses towards tolerance by mimicking biomolecular features of the mesenchymal stem cell surface.