Our broad goals are to understand and direct immune cell interactions with biomaterials. We are interested in aspects such as immune cell adhesion to biomaterials, the engineering of controlled release systems and developing combinatorial high content screening platforms. This work has wide-ranging implications in diverse fields such as therapeutic vaccines, implanted devices, and tissue engineering. We are particularly interested in the biomaterials-based modulation of the phagocytic antigen present cell types of dendritic cells and macrophages. This presentation will highlight results from our biomaterials-based systems designed as injectable vaccines to retrain the immune system to correct aberrant activation toward pancreatic self-antigens. Hydrogels and microparticles with encapsulated immunomodulatory factors and antigen provide targeted, controlled delivery in vivo to both intracellular and cell surface targets of immune cells, such as dendritic cells, in order to promote tolerance. Using a microparticle formulation consisting of a combination of suppressive factors we have demonstrated prevention and reversal of type 1 diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Contrastingly, a gel/microparticle formulation providing a factor typically regarded as inflammatory, has also demonstrated diabetes prevention. Further investigations into the immunological mechanisms are underway, and a role for regulatory T cells and B cells is implicated.
Benjamin G. Keselowsky is an Associate Professor in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida. He received his BS Chemical Engineering from the University of South Florida, his PhD Bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 2005. He is currently funded by the NIH (R01DK091658, R01DK098589) and past funding is also gratefully acknowledged from NIH, the National Science Foundation, the Arthritis Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He serves on editorial boards for the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research-Part A, and the Journal of Materials Chemistry B, and is a standing member on the NIH Biomaterials and Biointerfaces Study Section as well as an active reviewer for NSF. He is a recipient of the 2015 University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship Award.