Text Image: UM Medical School: Graduate Program in Immunology
Text Image: Faculty

James Moon, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor,
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and
Biomedical Engineering

Current Research Activity

We are interested in the development of therapeutics and diagnostics at the interface of immunology and engineering. Specifically, we are working on drug delivery systems for enhancing delivery of antigen and adjuvant to lymphoid organs and manipulating immune functions in the context of cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmunity. Our focus is on translational research using nanotechnology, biomaterials, drug delivery, cell and tissue engineering to detect and improve immune responses in vivo.

The first research thrust in the lab is development of nanoparticle vaccine that can induce anti-tumoral cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses. We have in the past developed a new nanoparticle vaccine, called interbilayer-crosslinked multilamellar vesicles (ICMVs). We have demonstrated that ICMVs can significantly improve antigen uptake and presentation by dendritic cells, leading to strong expansion of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in vivo. In this project, we aim to utilize this technology to elicit CD8+ T cell responses against cancer stem cells, which are highly tumorigenic subpopulation of cells that are thought to be responsible for tumor relapse and progression in various human malignancies. We expect that nanoparticle vaccines packaged with cancer stem cell lysate will significantly enhance expansion of tumor-specific CD8+ T cells and provide a viable treatment option for cancer patients.

The second thrust in the lab is development of biomaterials for mucosal immunization against infectious pathogens. Mucosal tissues are the major site of pathogen entry and initial infection for many infectious microbes, such as HIV. However, little is known about vaccination strategies to induce effective mucosal immune responses. In this project, we will develop a synthetic scaffold system as a platform for HIV vaccine. We apply the principles of tissue engineering and drug delivery to construct hydrogel scaffold materials that can manipulate local tissue microenvironments and induce cellular and humoral immunity in mucosal tissues against HIV.


Representative Publications

Demuth PC*, Moon JJ*, Suh H, Hammond PT, and Irvine DJ, and Huang B. Releasable layer-by-layer assembly of stabilized lipid nanocapsules on microneedles for enhanced transcutaneous vaccine delivery, In Press, 2012, ACS Nano.

Moon JJ, Huang B, and Irvine DJ. Engineering nano- and micro-particles to tune immunity, DOI 10.1002/adma.201200446, 2012, Advanced Materials.

Moon JJ, Suh H, Li AV, Ockenhouse CF, Yadava A, and Irvine DJ. Enhancing humoral responses to a malaria antigen with nanoparticle vaccines that expand Tfh cells and promote germinal center induction, 109, 1080-5, 2012, PNAS – Featured by PNAS: Commentary, 109, 999-1000, 2012.

Moon JJ, Suh H, Polhemus ME, Ockenhouse CF, Yadava A, and Irvine DJ. Antigen-displaying lipid-enveloped PLGA nanoparticles as delivery agent for Plasmodium vivax malaria vaccine, 7, e31472, 2012, PLoS One.

Moon JJ, Suh H, Bershteyn A, Stephan MT, Liu H, Huang B, Sohail M, Luo S, Um SH, Chiu W, and Irvine DJ. Interbilayer-crosslinked multilamellar vesicles for potent humoral and cellular immune responses, 10, 243-251, 2011, Nature Materials – Featured by Nature Materials: News and Views, 10, 166-68, 2011, and Nature Biotech: Research Highlights, 29, 330, 2011.

Stephan MT, Moon JJ, Um SH, Bershteyn A, and Irvine DJ. Therapeutic cell engineering with surface-conjugated synthetic nanoparticles, 16, 1035-41, 2010, Nature Medicine.

Moon JJ, Saik JE, Poche RA, Leslie-Barbick JE, Lee SH, Smith AA, Dickinson ME, and West JL. Biomimetic hydrogels with pro-angiogenic properties, 31, 3840-3847, 2010, Biomaterials.

Moon JJ, Hahn MS, Kim I, Nsiah BA, and West JL. Micropatterning of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate hydrogels with biomolecules to regulate and guide endothelial morphogenesis, 15, 579-585, 2009, Tissue engineering.

Moon JJ, and West JL. Vascularization of engineered tissues: approaches to promote angiogenesis in biomaterials, 8, 300-310, 2008, Current topics in medicinal chemistry.

Lee SH*, Moon JJ*, and West JL. Three-dimensional micropatterning of bioactive hydrogels via two-photon laser scanning photolithography for guided 3D cell migration, 29, 2962-2968, 2008, Biomaterials.

Gobin AM*, Moon JJ*, and West JL. EphrinA I-targeted nanoshells for photothermal ablation of prostate cancer cells, 3, 351-358, 2008, International journal of nanomedicine.

Moon JJ, Lee SH, and West JL. Synthetic biomimetic hydrogels incorporated with ephrin-A1 for therapeutic angiogenesis, 8, 42-49, 2007, Biomacromolecules.

Moon JJ, Matsumoto M, Patel S, Lee L, Guan JL, and Li S. Role of cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans in endothelial cell migration and mechanotransduction, 203, 166-176, 2005, J Cell Physiol. (selected as a cover) *Authors contributed equally


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