Biomaterials for Immunoengineering

March 12, 2021

 Prof. Kyung-Ho Roh
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
University of Alabama in Huntsville

Friday, March 12 at 4:00 pm via Zoom

Abstract

Vaccination has served as an effective means to protect humankind from various fatal infectious diseases for more than two centuries. Recently, more sophisticated methods to manipulate our immune systems have been actively pursued to fight against pertinacious diseases including cancer, autoimmune diseases, as well as immune evasive infections. As our understanding of the immune system and its molecular mechanism progresses, opportunities of leveraging biomaterial designs to precisely control immune responses either to fortify a healthy immune response or to suppress an aberrant auto-immune response or allergies are ever growing in the new era of personalized medicine and custom-immunotherapy. In this presentation, I will introduce two examples of how we can utilize biomaterial designs to engineer B cells and T cells, the two main arms of our adaptive immune system. First, viscoelastic hydrogels with tunable relaxation times will be introduced as effective means to recapitulate the mechanical properties of extracellular matrix of physiological immune tissues. Second, biological ligands presented on microbeads will be discussed as robust platforms to induce specific and critical signaling events on these immune cells for their specific immunological functions.

Biography

Kyung-Ho Roh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). He received his BS and MS degrees in Fiber and Polymer Science and Engineering from Seoul National University, and earned his PhD in Macromolecular Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. For his postdoc experience, he studied on T cell immunology at Stanford University. Immediately before joining UAH, Dr. Roh worked as a research faculty in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. His research interests are at the intersection of biomaterials engineering and immunology. The two overarching themes are i) developing biomaterials-based artificial microenvironments for effective (re)generation and induction of adaptive immunity from therapeutically relevant sources such as naïve immune/stem/progenitor cells, and ii) leveraging biomaterials for the targeted delivery of biologics for selective and controlled immunomodulation. He is a recipient of CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.