The Owen Lab utilizes chemical biology approaches to develop novel therapies. Broadly, we are interested in biotherapeutics, including monoclonal antibody drug conjugates and recombinant growth factor hybrids, and in biomaterials as templates to guide cell-based therapies.
Tumor-specific monoclonal antibody (mAbs) can be coupled with therapeutic and diagnostic agents to generate antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), combinding the highly desirable pharmacokinetic (PK) profile and selectivity of mAbs with the potent cytotoxicity drugs – thereby minimizing side effects while maximizing therapeutic effects. The most explored approaches in developing ADCs are to conjugate more potent drugs or to increase the amount of drug by conjugating large delivery vehicles such as liposomes and micelles. We are focusing on controlling the systemic and cellular pharmacokinetics (PK) of ADCs by creating self-amplifying antibody-drug conjugates.
Biomaterials for Cell-based Therapy
We aim to develop 3D biomimetic scaffolds that guide cell growth, differentiation, and function. In particular, we are combining bioconjugation and drug delivery techniques to provide proper cell adhesion, cell-cell interaction, and the availability of growth factors. Our efforts are focused on constructing 1) synthetic nerve conduits for the enhanced regeneration of injured peripheral nerves, and 2) tunable hydrogel scaffolds that recapitulate the in situ environment of breast cancer to allow the rapid, predictive screening of clinical responses.