The Mitragotri group pioneers new methods of drug delivery to improve patient care and quality of life during treatment. Development of novel drug delivery methods is contingent upon the ability to control the transport of desired bio-molecules in the tissues against the naturally exerted forces by tissues arising from steric, chemical, and physical interactions of bio-molecules with the tissues. By developing a fundamental understanding of such transport processes, they seek to develop novel strategies involving the use of external forces (ultrasound, chemicals, and high velocity jets) as well as newly fabricated biomaterials with advanced structure-function characteristics for applications in drug delivery.
In collaboration with the Mitragotri group, the Helgeson group is exploring how various physical properties of nanoparticles affect their biological transport. For example, they have used polymer nanogels to probe how particles’ stiffness determines their ability to achieve long blood circulation, organ targeting, and cellular internalization – critical processes for successfully engineering drug nanocarriers.