Research

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Glycocalyx Engineering for Synthetic Immunology

The extracellular repertoire of carbohydrates (glycocalyx) is of critical importance to regulation of the immune system. Despite this, the glycocalyx remains underexploited as a site for development of next-generation therapeutics. The Edgar lab will use multiple techniques to engineer synthetic glycocalyces able to generate new or enhanced immune responses.

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Mapping Glycan-Lectin Networks via High-dimensionality Single Cell Analysis

Immune cell identities and subphenotypes are often described by expression of protein biomarkers. As our understanding of the ‘carbohydrate axis’ of the immune systems increases, we now realize that proteins alone are insufficient to describe immune cell identities across a spectrum of activation states. Glycans participate in communication between immune cells in a manner that transcends their accepted roles as simple mediators of cell adhesion and physical barriers. We map expression of specific glycans and their protein binding partners (lectins) using high-dimensionality spectral flow cytometry. This data is providing new insight into which immune cells can interact via glycan-dependent signalling pathways.

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Targeted Nanoparticle Scaffolds for Spatial Control Over Effector Cell Recruitment

A major limitation of modern immunotherapies is inefficient homing of specific effector cells to target tissues. We will address this deficiency through design and application of a nanoparticle-based system capable of releasing cell-attracting chemokines at specific sites in vivo. This system will prove complementary to existing therapies (i.e. CAR T) and enhance our other research programs by enabling targeting of glycoengineered cells.