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Samuel K. Lai, PhD, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and Assistant Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Associate Professor
School of Pharmacy
UNC-Chapel Hill
Molecular Therapeutics

Area of Interest

Research in my laboratory is at the interface of mucus, immunology, nanotechnology, biomaterials, biophysics, bioengineering and modeling. We are currently working in several areas:

  1. elucidating and harnessing antibody-mucin interactions for improved protection against pathogens and sperm at mucosal surfaces
  2. elucidating adaptive immune response (i.e. induction of antibodies) against nanomaterials
  3. engineering bispecific antibodies for targeting drug and gene delivery
  4. computational modeling and artificial intelligence. We are the first group to demonstrate that antibodies can trap both viral and bacterial pathogens in mucus via interactions between mucins and Fc domains on antibodies (Ref #3 & #4).

My effort in engineering “muco-trapping antibodies” has led to a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, a NSF CAREER Award, and two startup companies.

Awards and Honors

  • 2013 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering
  • 2013 IBM Junior Faculty Development Award, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • 2012 CAREER Award, National Science Foundation
  • 2010 New Faculty Research Award, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
  • 2008 2nd Place, AIChE Graduate Student Award (Bionanotechnology)
  • 2008-2009 Croucher Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2005-2007 Predoctoral Fellowship, Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • 2003 Cornell Theory Center Fellow
  • 2003 Alumni Research Scholar, Cornell University
  • 2000-2003 John McMullen Deans Scholar, Cornell University

Find publications on PubMed