CAREER: Rational design of a biomimetic nanomaterial library to probe mechanisms behind virus-induced immunopathology

Project: Research project

Project Details


Intellectual merit: The overall research objective of this proposal is to incorporate principles and techniques from Biomedical Engineering (BME) and nanotechnology into fundamental investigations in viral immunopathology. I intend to design and manufacture a library of synthetic nanomaterials that mimic specific mechanisms of viral infection. This versatile self-assembling block copolymer system will be used to systematically investigate specific hypotheses concerning the biochemical and cellular triggering of hemophagocytic lymphistiocytosis (HLH), a virus-induced immunodysregulatory disorder that can be rapidly reproduced within in vivo mouse models. The educational objective of this proposal addresses the social and scholastic stigma’s that have hindered or slowed the expansion of engineering-based approaches to problem solving into several areas of the biomedical sciences, including virology and immunology. Through high school curriculum development and focused community outreach initiatives, I intend to better present the basic science applications of and employment opportunities within the expanding field of Biomedical Engineering as well as help shape science policy and promote the involvement of women and underrepresented minorities (URMs) in science. The educational program will feature a high school seminar series that will allow both large scale and one-on-one exposure of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students to successful women and URM faculty and researchers. Funding of this CAREER proposal will achieve these research and educational objectives by establishing an Immunoengineering laboratory at Northwestern University that will maintain close ties with a local BME-focused high school program.
Effective start/end date2/15/151/31/21


  • National Science Foundation (CBET-1453576)


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