Welcome to the Hammer Laboratory. Our lab extends into two main research areas: synthetic capsules and cell motility & adhesion.
Along with collaborators we developed polymersomes or biomimetic vesicles composed of diblock copolymers or recombinant proteins. These have the potential to serve as drug-delivery, imaging devices and synthetic cells (also known as protocells). We have engineered these vesicles to carry molecules in their interior and on their surface and have shown their potential to adhere to specific cell adhesion molecules. Furthermore, by embedding specific molecules within the membrane on polymersome we can now cause them to photo-destruct. The ability to assemble capsules from recombinant proteins allows facile incorporation of functional adhesion receptor and responsive motifs, such a protease cleavable domains.
Cell motility and adhesion is critical to many processes in the bodyincluding the proper functioning of the immune response. We use compliant surfaces of different stiffness to andmicro post arrays to measure the forces exerted during motility for neutrophils, T- lymphocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells. Finally, we study the homing of T-cells using Adhesive Dynamics, in which we can simulate the rolling, tethering, and firm adhesion of cells in the vasculature.