The Tanner lab strives to be a diverse, collaborative, and interdisciplinary team that works at the interface of chemistry and bioengineering.
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The Tanner lab seeks to solve outstanding bioengineering research questions using a chemistry framework, where an understanding of the molecular interactions within the delivery system allows the development of predictive frameworks and task-specific solvent design.
A cross-section of porcine skin is shown to the right, stained with FITC-insulin that was transported with an ionic liquid (1:2 CAGE).
Ionic liquids, consisting of a bulky, asymmetric cation and an anion, have attracted significant interest in a broad range of applications, including catalysis and energy applications, due to their favorable properties, including non-volatility, recyclability, and their inherent tuneability whereby the anion and cation can be altered to change the physicochemical properties of the material. A range of common cations and anions are shown in the picture to the right.
By synthesizing the ionic liquids with biocompatible or bioinspired starting materials, they can be employed in biological contexts. Because changing the structure of the ionic components results in changes to their their biologically relevant properties, including interactions with bio-interfaces, biomolecules and pharmaceutical ingredients, they can be tuned to solve a variety of problems.
Nanoparticles have been touted as ideal drug delivery systems due to their ability to deliver drugs in a more effective, safe, and specific way compared to traditional therapeutics, particularly in the context of administering chemotherapy, such as doxorubicin, to treat cancer. However, the vast majority of nanoparticle technologies do not progress clinically as they face a number of currently insurmountable challenges, which result in <5 % arriving to the intended destination.
Nanomaterials are too large to get through the stratum corneum to the epidermis and dermis. Can we use ionic liquids to transport them through intact skin?
This project involves synthesis of ionic liquids and nanoparticles, ex vivo testing (porcine skin), and in vivo animal models (mice).
Very few injected nanoparticles make it to their intended destination.
Can we design ionic liquids to improve intravenous delivery of nanoparticles?
This project involves synthesis of ionic liquids, nanoparticles and active compounds, in vitro testing, and in vivo animal models (mice).
Getting drugs into poorly-vascularized areas of solid tumors is a major challenge. Can ionic liquids encapsulated inside nanoparticles transport chemotherapies to all components of tumors, significantly enhancing their efficacy?
This project involves synthesis synthesis of ionic liquids, nanoparticles and active compounds, in vitro cell culture, and in vivo animal models (mice).