Headshot portrait of Xinyi Chen - Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Fellow
Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2022
Home Department: Bioengineering
Faculty Advisors: Stanley Qi (Bioengineering) and Wendy Fantl (Urology)

Research Title: Programmable Biomolecule Delivery Through Cell-Cell Communication

Research Description: Finding cures for monogenic diseases is an area of urgent unmet medical need. The rapid advances in gene editing technology provided promising solutions, but their translation to the clinic is largely hindered by the lack of a safe and efficacious delivery vehicle. Currently existing delivery vehicles such as viral particles or nanoparticles suffer from payload size limitation, non-specificity and lack of external control. To address these limitations, Xinyi proposes to use genetically engineered cells to deliver gene-editing tools in a programmable way to recipient cells by repurposing natural cell-cell communication pathways. Such tools have values for both basic research and clinical applications, particularly in treating diseases related to single genes. This exploratory work will pave the way towards the development of novel strategies to address delivery of therapeutic gene-editing tools to diseased cells.