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Department of Pharmacy
4213 Marsico Hall


Antibody engineering, mucosal immunology, phage engineering, immune cell engineering

Research in the Lai Lab is at the interface of mucus, immunology, nanotechnology, biomaterials, biophysics, bioengineering and modeling.  We are currently working in several areas: (1) elucidating and harnessing antibody-mucin interactions for improved protection against pathogens and sperm at mucosal surfaces; (2) antibody engineering for various biomedical applications, including infectious disease;  (3) elucidating adaptive immune response (i.e. induction of antibodies) against nanomaterials; (4) phage engineering for in situ alteration of the commensal microbiome; and (5) immune cell engineering.  We are 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; a number of drug candidates are currently in clinical trials or in preclinical development based on the technology. Our prior inventions also formed the basis of a number of FDA-approved drugs. We are always looking for the brightest and most motivated to join our highly multidisciplinary group.

Selected Publications:

Shrestha B, Schaefer A, Zhu Y, Saada J, Jacobs TM, Chavez EC, Omsted SS, Cruz-Teran CA, Vaca GB, Vincent K, Moench TR, Lai SK. Engineering sperm-binding IgG antibodies for the development of an effective nonhormonal female contraception. Sci Transl Med. 2021 Aug 11;13(606). doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abd5219

Cruz-Teran C, Tiruthani K, McSweeney M, Ma A, Pickles R, Lai SK. Challenges and opportunities for antiviral monoclonal antibodies as COVID-19 therapy. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2021 Feb;169:100-117. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2020.12.004. Epub 2020 Dec 9. Review. PubMed PMID: 33309815; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7833882.

Schroeder HA, Newby J, Schaefer A, Subramani B, Tubbs A, Gregory Forest M, Miao E, Lai SK. LPS-binding IgG arrests actively motile Salmonella Typhimurium in gastrointestinal mucus. Mucosal Immunol. 2020 Sep;13(5):814-823. doi: 10.1038/s41385-020-0267-9. Epub 2020 Mar 2. PubMed PMID: 32123309.

Yang B, Schaefer A, Wang YY, McCallen J, Lee P, Newby JM, Arora H, Kumar PA, Zeitlin L, Whaley KJ, McKinley SA, Fischer WA 2nd, Harit D, Lai SK. ZMapp Reinforces the Airway Mucosal Barrier Against Ebola Virus. J Infect Dis. 2018 Aug 14;218(6):901-910. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy230. PubMed PMID: 29688496; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6093450.

Newby J, Schiller JL, Wessler T, Edelstein J, Forest MG, Lai SK. A blueprint for robust crosslinking of mobile species in biogels with weakly adhesive molecular anchors. Nat Commun. 2017 Oct 10;8(1):833. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00739-6. PubMed PMID: 29018239; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5635012

Link to My Bibliography