Harnessing Self-assembly to Create Supramolecular Biotherapeutics

Date: 
02/11/2019 - 3:00pm
Speaker: 
Gregory Hudalla, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida
Location: 
Communicore, C1-17

Dr. Hudalla received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2004, a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 2006, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 2010. Dr. Hudalla was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University from 2010-2013, and was supported by an NIH National Research Service Award during this time. Dr. Hudalla is currently an Assistant Professor, a Pruitt Family Endowed Faculty Fellow, and a University Term Professor in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida, where he has been since 2013. Dr. Hudalla’s research program develops biotherapeutics and biomaterials with new or improved functional properties via molecular engineering and self-assembly. Dr. Hudalla has authored more than 20 papers, is co-editor of the book “Mimicking the Extracellular Matrix: The Intersection of Matrix Biology and Biomaterials”, and holds 2 US patents, with another 5 currently pending. Dr. Hudalla has received the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Young Innovator award, the Journal of Materials Chemistry B Emerging Investigator award, a National Science Foundation RAISE award, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Trailblazer award, the National Science Foundation Career award, and the University of Wisconsin Alumni Early Career Achievement award.

Abstract:

Functional nano-scale materials are receiving increasing attention for a broad array of biomedical and biotechnological applications, including immunotherapy, personalized medicines, regenerative medicine, and disease prophylaxis. Throughout living systems, self-assembly of different biomolecules into multi-component assemblies gives rise to functional nano-scale materials that can perform complex tasks with unprecedented efficiency. Inspired by these observations, our research establishes strategies to create nanomaterials with precisely defined and easily interchangeable composition of functional components using self-assembly. In one application, we have developed recombinant fusion “assembly tags” to install biologically active protein domains into peptide nanofibers that form injectable gels. In a second application, we have developed a strategy to create nanofibers with tailored composition of carbohydrates as the basis for synthetic mimics of extracellular matrix glycoproteins. The utility of this technology is illustrated by creating nanofibers that can modulate the activity of galectins, a family of carbohydrate-binding extracellular signaling proteins.  Finally, we develop strategies to anchor biotherapeutics, such as enzymes, to specific tissue locations by engineering them to bind to abundant tissue carbohydrates. Together, these approaches demonstrate the potential of harnessing self-assembly to create nano-scale biomaterials with multi-functional properties that can be easily and precisely tailored according to application- or disease-specific needs.

Academic year: