Lei Wang

Dr. Lei WANG received his PhD degree in Chemical Engineering & Technology in 2015, from Harbin Institute of Technology (Harbin, China). During his PhD, he studied at the University of Maryland (College Park, USA) and University of Leeds (UK) for one and a half years, respectively. He continued his researches as a Postdoctoral Researcher at HIT for two years after graduation, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Xin Huang, then he joined IBEC in late 2017 as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Smart Nano-Bio-Devices group, led by Prof. Dr. Samuel Sánchez, with the cofounding of Marie Curie fellowship and Severo Ochoa fellowship supporting on the project of fabrication of protein-based nanomotors. His current research is focused on the various clinical applications based on the self-assembly of biomaterials.

Group: Smart Nano-Bio-Devices
Supervisor: Samuel Sánchez
Project: Fabrication of Janus micromotor based on protein self-assembly for targeted drug delivery

Chemotherapy acts an overarching role in tumor therapy and has received considerable attention in the past decades. However, conventional antitumor drug still suffers from severe limitations such as lack of selectivity between healthy and tumor tissues and nonspecific drug internalization all over the body, thus leading to low therapeutic efficacy and increasing fatal side effects. Targeted drug delivery is hence needed for transporting antitumor drugs, which could localize, target and release the drug into the diseased tissue, reducing the side effects and improving the clinical efficiency.
The type of drug transport vehicles is an important factor. Amongst all kinds of drug vehicles, microcapsules with self-propulsion ability act as fantastic drug carrier (nanorobots), with the ability of drug loading, transport and release all in one system. However, to carry out complex tasks in living systems, the engines of the microrobots need to be powerful and, particularly, the fuel must not be cytotoxic and must be available in biological environments. To address it, biocatalytic reactions triggered by enzymes are promising because of their high reaction rate and variable choices of enzyme/fuel combinations. However, the few reports based on enzymes reported so far were done by modifying enzymes on substrates, which made the fabrication process more complicated. The development of targeted drug delivery vehicles by self-assembly of biomaterials simplifies the potential manufacturing process, being also biocompatible. Thus, we will design and fabricate a novel type of nanorobots based on natural protein self-assembled into Janus microcapsules with the functions of drug loading, targeted transport and controlled release, where enzymes will provide the propulsion power and antibodies act as anchors to dock at the cancer cell surface. The release of drug will be triggered by the low pH around cancer cells. We believe this work will open a new area in the area of targeted drug delivery.