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Our Research

How can we make a large societal and global change by understanding the small?  Our lab is motivated by problems that can lead to major changes in understanding of vaccine development, carbon capture, and materials science.  Although these fields may seem dissimilar, they all require detailed and often multi-disciplinary understanding of molecular systems, mechanisms, and underlying principles.  Our dedicated team of biologists, chemists, physicists, computer scientists, and engineers are bringing our unique perspectives and skills together to tackle many important research questions.


In immuno-engineering, we are answering the question, "What makes a good vaccine elicit strong protection?"  To investigate this, we use engineered manipulation to understand how innate immune cells process information to improve the protective response.  These biological insights allow our chemists to design new vaccine components and delivery systems to make vaccines safer, cheaper, and more effective.

Click below to explore more about our project areas!

Polymers, Materials, and CO2

Our materials scientists are building new materials that are modeled after materials in the biological world.  Many man-made materials are disposable and single-purpose--leading to failure and waste--while materials in nature are robust, long-lived, and customized.  We are creating materials that can adapt to their environments and train themselves dynamically by incorporating principles from our natural world.

We are also interested in where we will put all the CO2 in the world and are working on developing materials and tools to improve CO2 capture and sequestration.

Click below to explore more about our project areas!


The Esser-Kahn lab is deeply grateful to the following institutions who provide

the financial support to make our research possible:

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