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Contact Information

Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Campus Box
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-
(O) 919 966-3024

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Associate Professor
Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Adjunct Associate Professor
Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology
Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
Dept. Biophysics and Biochemistry
School of Medicine
Oral Biology Program
School of Dentistry
Director of Pharmaceoengineering Program, School of Pharmacy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research Summary

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