About Samuel Lai's Work

Research in my lab is at the interface of mucus, immunology, bioengineering, nanotechnology, biophysics and computational modeling. Current projects encompass several areas: (1) elucidating and harnessing antibody-mucin interactions for improved protection against pathogens at mucosal surfaces; (2) elucidating microbiome effects on mucosal barriers, and precise tuning of microbial communities; (3) charactering adaptive immune response against nanomaterials; (4) engineering bispecific fusion proteins targeting drug and gene carriers to heterogeneous disease tissues; and (5) computational modeling of mucosal immune system and artificial neural networks for nanoscale pattern recognition. The original intent of the Packard Fellowship was to support the discovery of a novel, sugar-dependent “muco-trapping” antibody function based on exceedingly weak and transient crosslinks between antibodies and mucins that enable effective immobilization of various viral and bacterial pathogens at all major mucosal surfaces. The Fellowship has since catalyzed substantial advances in all research areas in our group.

Awards and Achievements