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Research

The Whitehead Lab makes significant scientific advances in the field of drug delivery and biomedicine by:


        1.     Discovering the structural and  functional  properties  of  the  biological

                barriers standing between drugs and their targets


        2.     Engineering innovative drug delivery systems capable of safely breaching

                physiological barriers for therapeutic effect


Ultimately, we develop smarter, more powerful delivery systems for the treatment and prevention of disease.


Although oral delivery is the most patient-friendly route of drug administration, it cannot be utilized for macromolecules because of their susceptibility to enzymatic degradation in the GI tract and low permeability across the intestinal epithelium. We seek to understand the effect of tight junction and epithelial membrane proteins on drug transport and permeation enhancement processes - with a goal of applying this understanding to both the oral delivery of systemic drugs and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Click here for a video describing some of our oral delivery work.

Each year, non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma kills over 20,000 people in the U.S., and a strong need remains for the development of novel therapies capable of eradicating solid and disseminated B-cell lymphomas. We are interested in the role of non-adherent membrane proteins on cell uptake and the development of targeted siRNA nanoparticles capable of selectively entering and destroying lymphoma cells.

Chronic wounds pose a significant and growing biomedical burden, afflicting ~6.5 million people and costing over $25 billion annually in the U.S. Using RNA interference, we seek to better understand five molecular contributors to chronic wound development and persistance. Our utlimate goal is to engineer a therapeutic polymer ointment loaded with nanoparticles and drugs that will address the underlying causes of chronic wound pathophysiology.

The chemical structure of the various agents comprising drug delivery systems can have a tremendous influence on the delivery process. We are interested in characterizing the effects of specialized classes of small molecules, lipids, and polymers on permeabilization, transfection, and immune responses.

Oral Delivery of Biologic Drugs

Mantle Cell Lymphoma Nanoparticle Therapy


Diabetic Wound Healing

Influence of Chemical Structure on the Biological Response to Nanomaterials