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Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics (DPMP)
4211 Marsico Hall

The research of the Ainslie Lab is centered on immune-targeted therapies for the development of vaccines and treatment of infectious and autoimmune diseases. The Ainslie Lab is currently working on influenza vaccines including universal flu vaccines. Additionally, the lab does research on host cell-directed therapeutics for treatment of pathogenic infections including Salmonella enterica and Leishmania donovani. These therapies modulate the host environment to decrease pathogen burden and are thought to help mitigate the emergence of drug resistance as well as enhance the effect of conventional therapies against drug resistant pathogens. Finally, the lab has a focus on antigen specific therapies to treat autoimmune diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes. Antigen specific treatments for autoimmune diseases suppress the immune response specifically, rather than universally suppressing the immune system, like many current therapies.

The Ainslie Lab focuses on the delivery of these vaccines and therapies, primarily using the degradable biopolymer acetalated dextran (Ac-DEX). By generating microparticles of Ac-DEX which encapsulate vaccine or therapeutic elements we can increase the efficacy of these agents. We use Ac-DEX because it has triggered release inside phagosomes of antigen presenting cells, facilities storage outside the cold-chain (i.e. refrigerators), and has unique tunable degradation rates. For example, using the tunable degradation rates of Ac-DEX microparticles as vaccine carriers, we have shown significantly affect both humoral and cellular responses to vaccines to better optimize these formulations. Moreover, we look to methods of scalable microparticle production to work towards less cost-limiting formulations.

Originally from Michigan, Dr. Ainslie received her bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Michigan State University and then earned both her master’s and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco.



  1. Kauffman KJ, Do C, Sharma S, Gallovic MD, Bachelder EM, Ainslie KM. Synthesis and characterization of acetalated dextran polymer and microparticles with ethanol as a degradation product. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2012 Aug;4(8):4149-55. PubMed PMID: 22833690.
  2. Borteh HM, Gallovic MD, Sharma S, Peine KJ, Miao S, Brackman DJ, Gregg K, Xu Y, Guo X, Guan J, Bachelder EM, Ainslie KM. Electrospun acetalated dextran scaffolds for temporal release of therapeutics. Langmuir. 2013 Jun 25;29(25):7957-65. PubMed PMID: 23725054.
  3. Schully KL, Sharma S, Peine KJ, Pesce J, Elberson MA, Fonseca ME, Prouty AM, Bell MG, Borteh H, Gallovic M, Bachelder EM, Keane-Myers A, Ainslie KM. Rapid vaccination using an acetalated dextran microparticulate subunit vaccine confers protection against triplicate challenge by bacillus anthracis. Pharm Res. 2013 May;30(5):1349-61. PubMed PMID: 23354770.
  4. Peine KJ, Guerau-de-Arellano M, Lee P, Kanthamneni N, Severin M, Probst GD, Peng HY, Yang YH, Vangundy Z, Papenfuss TL, Lovett-Racke AE, Bachelder EM, Ainslie KM. Treatment of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis by Codelivery of Disease Associated Peptide and Dexamethasone in Acetalated Dextran Microparticles. Molecular Pharmaceutics. 2014;11(3):828-35.
  5. Hoang KV, Borteh HM, Rajaram MV, Peine KJ, Curry H, Collier MA, Homsy ML, Bachelder EM, Gunn JS, Schlesinger LS, Ainslie KM. Acetalated dextran encapsulated AR-12 as a host-directed therapy to control Salmonella infection. Int J Pharm. 2014 Dec 30;477(1-2):334-43. PubMed PMID: 25447826; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4267924.
  6. Peine KJ, Guerau-de-Arellano M, Lee P, Kanthamneni N, Severin M, Probst GD, Peng H, Yang Y, Vangundy Z, Papenfuss TL, Lovett-Racke AE, Bachelder EM, Ainslie KM. Treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by codelivery of disease associated Peptide and dexamethasone in acetalated dextran microparticles. Mol Pharm. 2014 Mar 3;11(3):828-35. PubMed PMID: 24433027; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3993881.
  7. Schully KL, Bell MG, Prouty AM, Gallovic MD, Gautam S, Peine KJ, Sharma S, Bachelder EM, Pesce JT, Elberson MA, Ainslie KM, Keane-Myers A. Evaluation of a biodegradable microparticulate polymer as a carrier for Burkholderia pseudomallei subunit vaccines in a mouse model of melioidosis. Int J Pharm. 2015 Nov 30;495(2):849-61. PubMed PMID: 26428631.
  8. Chen N, Peine K, Bachelder E, Ainslie K. Micro- and Nano-particulate Strategies for Antigen Specific Immune Tolerance to Treat Autoimmune Diseases. Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology. 2015;3(2):85-100
  9. Gupta G, Peine KJ, Abdelhamid D, Snider H, Shelton AB, Rao L, Kotha SR, Huntsman AC, Varikuti S, Oghumu S, Naman CB, Pan L, Parinandi NL, Papenfuss TL, Kinghorn AD, Bachelder EM, Ainslie KM, Fuchs JR, Satoskar AR. A Novel Sterol Isolated from a Plant Used by Mayan Traditional Healers Is Effective in Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis Caused by Leishmania donovani. ACS Infect Dis. 2015 Oct 9;1(10):497-506. PubMed PMID: 27623316.
  10. Gallovic MD, Schully KL, Bell MG, Elberson MA, Palmer JR, Darko CA, Bachelder EM, Wyslouzil BE, Keane-Myers AM, Ainslie KM. Acetalated Dextran Microparticulate Vaccine Formulated via Coaxial Electrospray Preserves Toxin Neutralization and Enhances Murine Survival Following Inhalational Bacillus Anthracis Exposure. Adv Healthc Mater. 2016 Oct;5(20):2617-2627. PubMed PMID: 27594343.
  11. Hoang KV, Curry H, Collier MA, Borteh H, Bachelder EM, Schlesinger LS, Gunn JS, Ainslie KM. Needle-Free Delivery of Acetalated Dextran-Encapsulated AR-12 Protects Mice from Francisella tularensis Lethal Challenge. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2016 Apr;60(4):2052-62. PubMed PMID: 26787696; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4808193.
  12. Collier MA, Peine KJ, Gautam S, Oghumu S, Varikuti S, Borteh H, Papenfuss TL, Sataoskar AR, Bachelder EM, Ainslie KM. Host-mediated Leishmania donovani treatment using AR-12 encapsulated in acetalated dextran microparticles. Int J Pharm. 2016 Feb 29;499(1-2):186-94. PubMed PMID: 26768723.
  13. Gallovic MD, Montjoy DG, Collier MA, Do C, Wyslouzil BE, Bachelder EM, Ainslie KM. Chemically modified inulin microparticles serving dual function as a protein antigen delivery vehicle and immunostimulatory adjuvant. Biomater Sci. 2016 Mar;4(3):483-93. PubMed PMID: 26753184.
  14. Bachelder EM, Pino EN, Ainslie KM. Acetalated Dextran: A Tunable and Acid-Labile Biopolymer with Facile Synthesis and a Range of Applications. Chem Rev. 2016 Dec 29;PubMed PMID: 28032507.
  15. Chen N, Peine K, Collier M, Gautam S, Jablonski K, Guerau-de-Arellano M, Ainslie K, Bachelder E. Co- Delivery of Disease Associated Peptide and Rapamycin via Acetalated Dextran Microparticles for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. Advanced Biosystems. 2017
  16. Peine KJ, Chen N, Bachelder EM, Ainslie KM. Drug Delivery Strategies for Tolergenic Therapy For Autoimmune Diseases in an Antigen Specific Manner. In: Keservani R, editor. Recent Advances in Drug Delivery Technology. Hershey, PA: IGI Global; 2017.
  17. Chen N, Johnson MM, Collier MA, Gallovic MD, Bachelder EM, Ainslie KM. Tunable degradation of acetalated dextran microparticles enables controlled vaccine adjuvant and antigen delivery to modulate adaptive immune responses. J Control Release. 2018 Mar 10;273:147-159. PMID: 29407676


Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics (


NCSU/UNC Biomedical Engineering (

NCSU Comparative Medicine Institute (CMI) (



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