Samuel; Lai studies the interface of mucus, immunology, nanotechnology, biomaterials, biophysics, bioengineering and modeling. The active areas of research in his lab include: (1) elucidating and harnessing antibody-mucin interactions for improved protection against pathogens and microbes at mucosal surfaces; (2) elucidating adaptive immune response (i.e. induction of antibodies) against nanomaterials; (3) engineering bispecific antibodies for targeting drug carriers to heterogeneous disease tissues; and (4) engineering temperate phage vectors for modulation of the mucosal commensal bacterial communities. His was the first group to demonstrate that antibodies can trap both viral and bacterial pathogens in mucus via interactions between mucins and Fc domains on antibodies. His lab has extensive experience with characterizing interactions in native mucus secretions from humans and animals using a variety of imaging techniques, as well as antibody and nanoparticle engineering for a variety of applications.
Relevance of Research to CGIBD Mission: A major focus of the CGIBD is the interaction of microbes with hosts. Samuel Lai has explored antibody-mucin interactions at the mucosal surface. He has also engineered temperate phage vectors for modulation of the mucosal commensal bacterial communities.
CGIBD Focus Area(s): Microbiome
Pilot and Feasibility Award 2011