Development of innovative engineering methodologies for preparation of precisely defined polymeric therapeutics

Jinyao Liu
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Postdoctoral Associate


Development of innovative engineering methodologies that allow for preparation of precisely defined polymeric therapeutics by simple strategies has significant fundamental interest and enormous potential for medical applications. In my PhD and postdoc research, various versatile approaches have been successfully developed for preparation of well-defined polymeric therapeutics including drug loaded nanoparticles, polymer-protein/peptide conjugates, and gastric retention devices. In terms of drug loaded nanoparticles, a new mechanism of self-assembly of homopolymers that forms a unique multi-core/shell nanostructure has been found and utilized to load drugs through physical interactions. We have also developed a general method to prepare drug loaded nanoparticles via ring-opening polymerization of prodrugs, in which drugs are loaded by chemical bonds. For protein/peptide delivery, a combinatorial method has been established to engineer protein/peptide-polymer conjugates in a well-controlled manner of site-specific, stoichiometric, and high yield, which combines recombinant expression, enzyme-mediated ligation and click chemistry. In respect to prolonged gastric retention with improved safety profile, a triggerable gastric device has been constructed by using double-network tough hydrogel that helped to achieve gastric retention of 7-12 days in a large animal model with the aim to solve poor medication adherence. The application of these polymeric therapeutics will be further discussed by giving examples of treating solid tumor, type-2 diabetes and malaria.

Date of Talk: 

March 30, 2016