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Welcome to the Vanderlick Lab

In our laboratory, we seek to invent and create new membrane-based structures and super-structures using molecular components from biology’s erector set (e.g., lipids, proteins, DNA, etc.), molecular components from chemistry’s erector set (e.g., diblock polymers), and various engineering technologies (e.g., microfluidics).   We are, for example, using DNA as molecular glue to hitch together liposomes and/or polymersomes into novel “multi-cargo” superstructures.  Our work here has technological potential in the area of drug delivery, but also serves as a model system for understanding how membrane properties (such as charge) regulate receptor/ligand binding.  Another example of our current work is the development of resilient polymersomes with “bio-functional windows.”   The windows are lipid membranes that are formed, as patches, within the closed polymeric membrane.  Using micofluidics technologies, we can systematically decorate the surface vesicles to create membranes useful for immunological studies or other purposes.  Overall, our goal is to engineer new and useful small scale structures by making creative use of biological, chemical and physical systems, and engineering principles.