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Jessica Kramer

Current Research

Glycocalyx engineering and cancer:

The surface of every cell is covered with an array of glycoproteins and glycolipids that collectively form the glycocalyx. Cancer cells have a strikingly altered glycocalyx, but the causes and effects are poorly understood. The Kramer lab is developing tools for precision glycocalyx engineering that enable systematic studies of the surface of cancer cells and at sites of inflammation. This knowledge aids in design of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for epithelial cancers.

Cryopreservation of tissue and whole organs:

Cells, tissues, and whole organs are essential elements in life-saving regenerative medicine. To slow cellular degradation processes and bacterial growth, tissues must be stored at reduced or sub-zero temperatures. Many therapeutic cells have reduced viability after freeze/thaw procedures, and platelets, and whole organs can't be frozen at all. Tragically, some organs go unused simply because they cannot be transplanted in time. Our lab researches bioinspired materials and methods that address the need for effective, low cost, biocompatible cryopreservation.

Synthetic human mucus for epithelial tissue models:

Mucosal coatings on epithelial tissues are our first point of contact with the outside world. Mucus acts as a lubricating barrier that mediates absorption of gases, nutrients, drugs, and pathogens, and hosts the microbiome. Despite these diverse and essential roles in life, current research relies mainly on poorly-defined, unreproducible mucins extracted from farm animal tissues. The Kramer lab is developing fully synthetic human mucus to be used in defined and reproducible models of epithelial tissues.