Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biotechnology Science and Engineering

Committee Chair

Kyung-Ho Roh

Committee Member

Anuradha Subramanian

Committee Member

Luis Cruz-Vera

Committee Member

Surangi Jayawardena

Committee Member

Krishnan Chittur


T cells, Biomedical engineering


T cells are crucial components of the adaptive immune system and are known for secreting various cytokines, which induce the proliferation of many immune cells, including T cells themselves. A subset of T cells, called the CD8+ T cells, are known for their ability to kill infected cells and cancer cells. Naturally, the potential in using T cells for immunotherapy of cancer is tremendous. For this purpose, however, it is often required to engineer T cells specifically to treat a particular type of cancer. For example, the FDA-approved immunotherapies, KymriahTM and YescartaTM, which come under the adoptive T cell therapy, require genetic engineering and in vitro expansion of T cells. Currently, viral vectors are being used to introduce the transgenes encoding the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to patient-derived T cells in vitro. Due to the safety concerns and high manufacturing costs associated with viral transduction, non-viral vector-mediated T cell-specific transfections are being developed. Besides, the patient’s natural Antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as the dendritic cells, may not offer consistent activation profiles. Thus, the function of CAR-T cells must be modulated with artificial antigen-specific APCs for more specific and controlled activation profiles, whose manufacturing and maintenance are easier and less expensive. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand T cell biology, improve the engineering and functional modulation strategies to advance the field of T cell therapy. Here, we suggest how to improve the non-viral vector-mediated transfection efficiency in Jurkat cells (a human leukemia T cell line) by using calcium ions; how to express and purify N-terminal Cysteine containing mouse Interleukin-2 (IL-2) at the laboratory scale to enable site-specific bioconjugation of IL-2 with foreign materials; how to associate and intracellularly deliver the IL-2-functionalized nanocargoes up to a certain size-limit to the murine primary T Lymphocytes via the IL-2 receptor (IL-2R)-mediated endocytosis; and finally, how to optimize the manufacture of human HER2- and PD-L1-coated iron-oxide microparticles to functionally modulate and test the efficacies of the HER2 CAR-T cells.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.