For the past 25 years, my research has focused on developing safer and more efficient means of accomplishing gene transfer into clinically relevant cell types in vivo and of achieving immunological tolerance to the therapeutic transgene. The ultimate goal is to help develop safe, effective treatments for monogenic diseases (e.g., hemophilia) that could be administered shortly after or prior to birth.
Additionally, I have spent more than 10 years studying stem cell-based gene therapy, employing hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells as delivery vehicles for a variety of marker and therapeutic transgene cassettes. I also have a great deal of experience transducing bone marrow-derived stem cells with a variety of viral vectors, as well as with tracking and characterizing stem cell engraftment after transplantation.
More recently, as a NASA-funded investigator, I have applied my knowledge of hematopoiesis and stem cell assay systems to define the effects of solar particle event and galactic cosmic ray radiation and of the conditions of weightlessness (microgravity) on the human hematopoietic/immune system, with the ultimate goal of defining the risk astronauts will face of leukemogenesis during long-duration missions in deep space (such as those NASA has planned to near-Earth asteroids and Mars) and developing effective countermeasures to keep astronauts safe.
Education Program Involvement
Biomedical Engineering PhD
Program Research Interest: Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Biomedical Imaging, Cardiovascular Engineering, Nanomedicine and Nanobioengineering, Neuroengineering, Tissue Engineering, Translational Cancer Research
Molecular Medicine and Translational Science PhD
Program Research Interest: Analytical approaches to molecular and cellular synthesis, structure and function, Genetics and gene regulation, Cell communications, Organ systems, Pathophysiology
Program Research Interest: Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Cardiovascular Physiology and Hypertension, Regenerative Medicine, Neuro- and Behavioral Pharmacology, Cancer Therapeutics Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Lifespan Physiology.