Penn State College of Engineering
Real-Time, In Situ Imaging of Macrophages via Phase-Change Peptide Nanoemulsions
SESSION 5: PEPTIDE MATERIALS AND DELIVERY
Monday, June 26, 2023, at 11:10am – 11:35am
Macrophages are specialized phagocytes that play central roles in immunity and tissue repair. Their diverse functionalities have led to an evolution of new allogenic and autologous macrophage products. However, realizing the full therapeutic potential of these cell-based therapies requires development of imaging technologies that can track immune cell migration within tissues in real-time. Such innovations would not only inform treatment regimens and empower interpretation of therapeutic outcomes, but also enable prediction and early intervention during adverse events.
In this talk, I will summarize our recent efforts to develop phase-changing nanoemulsion contrast agents that permit real-time, continuous, and high-fidelity ultrasound imaging of macrophages in situ. Using a de novo designed peptide emulsifier, we prepare liquid perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions and show that rational control over interfacial peptide assembly affords formulations with tunable acoustic sensitivity, macrophage internalization, and in cellulo stability.
Imaging experiments demonstrate that emulsion-loaded macrophages can be readily visualized using standard diagnostic B-mode and Doppler ultrasound modalities. This allows on-demand and long-term tracking of macrophages within porcine coronary arteries, as an exemplary model. Our results demonstrate that this platform is poised to open new opportunities for non-invasive, contrast-enhanced imaging of cell-based immunotherapies in tissues, while leveraging the low-cost, portable, and safe nature of diagnostic ultrasound.
Dr. Scott H. Medina is the William and Wendy Korb Early Career Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Penn State University. His group interfaces chemical biology, supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology to develop new tools to address grand challenges in human health. Dr. Medina is a recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty, NSF CAREER, ACS Early Career Investigator in Biological Chemistry, Controlled Release Society Young Investigator, and the BMES Young Innovator and Rising Star awards.
In addition to his passion for creating new technologic paradigms in precision medicine, Dr. Medina is an ardent advocate for diversifying the research community and puts this into practice as the graduate recruitment chair for the BME department at Penn State University.