At the interface between materials chemistry and life science we want to design novel polymeric drug delivery systems and study their potency to improve pathologic phenomena in living cells and tissues. Thereby, our primary research interests focus on the design of nano-sized vaccines and anti-cancer immunotherapeutics. For this purpose, we develop well-defined block copolymers with self-assembling and responsive properties. The resulting nano-sized carriers can sense various stimuli including temperature, pH or light and provide reactivity to amino acid residues as well as specific receptor binding properties. Key feature of them is their biodegradability towards nanoparticle disassembly under physiologically relevant conditions over time.
Towards the development of vaccines against insidious intracellular pathogens and cancer, we utilize these nanocarriers for engineering selective immune-responses in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, novel strategies to modulate immune regulatory properties of the tumor microenvironment are investigated in order to combat cancer via next generation nano-immunotherapeutics.