SBE's James E. Bailey Award Lecture

Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

This award is sponsored by the Society for Biological Engineers.

Session Chair:

In memory of Professor Jay Bailey for his many pioneering contributions to biotechnology, the award is presented to an individual who has had an important impact on bioengineering and whose achievements have advanced this profession in any of its aspects. The recipient should have a distinguished record of service to the profession. They should also be involved in the direct engagement of biology with engineering.

The SBE's 2018 James E. Bailey Award Lecture will be presented by Dr. Jeffrey A. Hubbell.

Turning Immunity On and Off

Jeffrey A. Hubbell, PhD, Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering, Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago

The immune system exists in a delicate balance of mounting active, effector responses to fight infection from invading pathogens and to kill mutated cells, while existing in an active state of tolerance to the non-self contents of the gut and on the skin and to self proteins throughout the body. Dysfunction can lead to susceptibility to infection and cancer on the one hand, and to allergy and autoimmunity on the other. Immunotherapies are being developed to tip this balance one way or the other – for example to vaccinate against cancer to create an immune response against mutated self, or to inverse vaccinate against an autoimmune disease to re-establish immunological tolerance to self.

With regard to turning on immunity to, vaccinologists frequently employ molecular signals of danger to enhance immune responses to pathogen or mutated self antigens, termed adjuvants. We are developing adjuvant systems that employ both physical and molecular mechanisms of action. Adaptive immune responses are triggered particularly powerfully in the lymph nodes and in the lymphoid tissues associated with mucosae. We are developing nanomaterials and soluble polymers to exploit interstitial flow from the site of administration to the lymph nodes, using the material vectors to carry both antigen and associated adjuvant biomolecules. We build these material carriers to include biomolecular features of pathogens to enhance targeting of the target cell populations in the lymph nodes, dendritic cells, for example employing the sugar residue mannose. Thus, materials conjugated to signals for cellular targeting and uptake, to signals of danger for activation of those target cells, and of antigen, to which the effector immune response is intended, are being developed as multifunctional vaccines. We are interested in these materials to turn on immunity to pathogens such as malaria, for which there is no highly effective vaccine, and to cancer.

Immunity to tumors is particularly complex. Normal tissues display regulatory biomolecules that attenuate potential immune responses to prevent autoimmunity; cancers exploit these mechanisms to actively resist killing by the immune system once mutated proteins in the tumor have been detected. These regulatory biomolecules, referred to as checkpoints, are promising targets for cancer immunotherapy, to block these inhibitors of anti-cancer immunity. Moreover, immune regulatory biomolecules, cytokines and chemokines, are also promising candidates develop anti-cancer immunity. The difficulty with these drugs and potential drugs is their frequently high toxicity, since they tip the delicate balance described above and can causes anti-self responses. We are exploring means by which to target these powerful immunotherapeutics to tumors, to enhance their efficacy and reduce their toxicity.

In addition to inducing adaptive immune responses, so-called inverse vaccination to induce antigen-specific tolerance is of high interest. We are exploring biological approaches to deliver protein antigens in a tolerogenic manner, including targeting antigen to the surfaces of erythrocytes after injection, based on the premise that aged erythrocytes are cleared tolerogenically, along with exogenous antigen cargo they may carry. We have shown the ability to induce antigen-specific anergy as well as T regulatory responses, working in models of autoimmunity and of immune response to protein drugs. In this work, the liver appears to be a particularly interesting target for antigen delivery, and we are accordingly exploring glycopolymers to target particular receptors in liver cells in autoimmune and protein drug applications.

Biotechnology Progress Award for Excellence in Biological Engineering Publication

The Biotechnology Progress Award for Excellence in Biological Engineering Publication winner will also be recognized during the James E. Bailey Award session.

The Biotechnology Progress Award for Excellence in Biological Engineering Publication recognizes outstanding contributions to the literature in biomedical engineering, biological engineering, biotechnology, biochemical engineering and related fields. The award, which is presented annually at the AIChE Annual Meeting, celebrates excellence and foundational contributions to biotechnology and biological engineering through a body of work: a seminal paper, a review, a research report, or other material of significant interest and importance.

This year’s Biotechnology Progress Award for Excellence in Biological Engineering Publication winner is Dr. Junghae Suh, Rice University.

Jeffrey A. Hubbell

Jeffrey Hubbell is Professor in the Institute for Molecular Engineering of the University of Chicago. Previous to moving to Chicago, he was on the faculty of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL, where he served as Director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Dean of the School of Life Sciences), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and University of Zurich, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of Texas in Austin.  He holds a BS from Kansas State University and a PhD from Rice University, both degrees being in chemical...Read more

Junghae Suh

Junghae Suh specializes in designing and investigating gene delivery vectors for various applications in biomedicine. Her Synthetic Virology Laboratory combines broad-based knowledge of protein engineering and molecular/cell biology to engineer the properties of naturally occurring viruses for the treatment of debilitating human diseases. Suh’s basic science and technology development has impacted a variety of fields, including tissue engineering, and the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases. Since joining Rice in 2007, she has orchestrated various multi-...Read more

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