Lonnie Shea, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2011
For the integration of biomaterials and gene/protein delivery to control the local microenvironment to promote the formation of functional tissues.

Synthetic Biomaterial Scaffold Could Serve as Early Cancer Diagnostic

Via Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News | October 31, 2019

Invasive procedures to biopsy tissue from cancer-tainted organs could be replaced by simply taking samples from a tiny decoy implanted just beneath the skin, according to University of Michigan researchers. These devices attract cancer cells traveling through the body and can even pick up signs that cancer is preparing to spread, before cancer cells arrive, the scientists said.

The team published its study (“Metastatic conditioning of myeloid cells at a subcutaneous synthetic niche reflects disease progression and predicts therapeutic outcomes”) in Cancer Research… Continue reading.

Nanoparticles Heal Spinal Cord Injuries

Via AZoNano | July 25, 2019

Engineers have now created unique nanoparticles that redirect immune cells away from the spinal cord, promoting regeneration that helped restore spinal cord function in mice. The study was funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).

The spinal cord, similar to the brain, has a blood-brain barrier that guards the fragile nerves against possible damage from numerous assaults; for example, it blocks immune cells from migrating to the site of injury to clean up debris… Continue reading.

A Metastasis ‘Magnet’ for Early Cancer Diagnosis

Via Science in Society | August 1, 2013

Attraction is commonplace: we are attracted to a significant other, certain metals are attracted to magnets, and moths are attracted to flames. In some instances, attraction is not preferred, especially in the case of cancer. Primary tumors initially form in a host organ, and cancerous cells are eventually attracted to other organs in the body, forming secondary tumors known as metastases. This characteristic of cancer is the most devastating, and is largely the reason why cancer is incurable. However, current research suggests that a cancer cell’s attraction to a specific organ can be used to detect and diagnose metastasis at an early stage in the hopes of combating the devastating disease, before it’s too late.

Symposium Promotes Biotechnology Teaching

Via Northwestern University | May 8, 2013

Northwestern, Baxter International, Lindblom Academy sponsor hands-on summer teacher workshops

Bringing today’s science into Chicago classrooms is the driving goal of a summer series of professional development workshops in biotechnology that kicks off Tuesday, May 14 with a symposium on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

The May 14 event – “Bringing Biotech from the Bench to the K-12 Classroom” will allow educators to learn from world-class scientists. In addition, it will connect teachers to the partners sponsoring the summer workshop series. They are Northwestern’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP), Baxter International Inc., a global healthcare company, and the Biotechnology Center of Excellence (BCoE) at Lindblom Math and Science Academy.

Some 100 Chicago Public Schools educators are expected to attend the May 14 symposium. It will feature Lonnie Shea, professor of chemical and biological engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and senior researchers and executives from Baxter International Inc.

Research Breakthrough Selectively Represses the Immune System

Via NIH | November 19, 2012

In a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed innovative technology to selectively inhibit the part of the immune system responsible for attacking myelin–the insulating material that encases nerve fibers and facilitates electrical communication between brain cells.

Autoimmune disorders occur when T-cells–a type of white blood cell within the immune system– mistake the body’s own tissues for a foreign substance and attack them. Current treatment for autoimmune disorders involves the use of immunosuppressant drugs which tamp down the overall activity of the immune system. However, these medications leave patients susceptible to infections and increase their risk of cancer as the immune system’s normal ability to identify and destroy aberrant cells within the body is compromised.

Supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at NIH, Drs. Stephen Miller and Lonnie Shea at Northwestern University, Evanston, teamed up with researchers at the University of Sydney, and the Myelin Repair Foundation in Saratoga, Calif. to come up with a novel way of repressing only the part of the immune system that causes autoimmune disorders while leaving the rest of the system intact.

Breakthrough Nanoparticle Halts Multiple Sclerosis

Via Northwestern University | November 19, 2012

In a breakthrough for nanotechnology and multiple sclerosis, a biodegradable nanoparticle turns out to be the perfect vehicle to stealthily deliver an antigen that tricks the immune system into stopping its attack on myelin and halt a model of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.

The new nanotechnology also can be applied to a variety of immune-mediated diseases including Type 1 diabetes, food allergies and airway allergies such as asthma.

Early Cancer Detection Technology Gets NIH Funds

Via Northwestern University | September 28, 2012

Two Northwestern University faculty members have received a prestigious 2012 NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop technology to detect cancer metastasis at its earliest stages, allowing for life-preserving interventions.

The NIH this month awarded approximately $155 million to 81 researchers across the country through its High Risk-High Reward program. The program funds visionary research that exhibits the potential to transform scientific fields and speed the translation of research into improved health.

Lonnie D. Shea and Vadim Backman, both of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, will receive $4.2 million over five years for their innovative project. The grant is one of only 20 Transformative Research Awards given nationwide by NIH.