The Wayne lab develops novel experimental systems to decipher the principles driving macrophage activation phenomena from the genetic to multicellular scales, including intrinsic macrophage functionality, extracellular environmental cues, and drug/gene delivery nanoformulations. The outcomes of these studies will be used to drive macrophage cell-based drug delivery and therapy prediction models.
Elizabeth Wayne’s current research focuses on drug delivery for cancer treatment, specifically the use of microphages to deliver therapeutic genes to solid tumors. Wayne has received a number of awards and recognitions as both a speaker and an advocate for the inclusion of women in STEM. In 2017, she was recognized as a TED Fellow for both her cancer nanotechnology research, and her podcast PhDivas, which works to amplify the voices of women in higher education by interviewing women who have or are pursuing doctorate degrees. Her writing and research have been featured in a number of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, Bust Magazine, and more.
Macrophages as diagnostic indicators
Reverse engineering of clincal pathological environments to predict macrophage response to nanoformulated therapies
The inter-patient variability of drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics can be traced to differences in monocyte/macrophage (MO/MØs) activation. Studies that investigate nanoparticle-mediated MO/MØs activation often show results from experiments using 2D, plastic culture plates in the absence of vital environmental context. This leads to a limited understanding of macrophage nanoparticle processing and ultimately poor translation in vivo. My laboratory designs multicellular engineered systems that more accurately recapitulate the clinical contexts in which macrophages interact with nanoparticles. The focus is on developing adequate analysis platform that can be applied to any nanosystem.
Developing tools to assess macrophage activation
Macrophage activation is not binary but occurs on a spectrum. Measurement of macrophage activation is often done using ex vivo techniques such as qPCR (mRNA expression), ELISA (quantitative protein measurements), western blot (qualitative & size protein measurement), and FACS analysis (intracellular & extracellular protein expression). However, these techniques while powerful, require advanced manipulation that can alter the activation of the cells. Because of this, we need adequate cellular and animal models to observe this change in activation state real-time.
Monocytes/Macrophages for muscle regeneration
Macrophages are central players in disease progression but also have a decisive role in wound healing/muscle regeneration. In this project, I would like to explore the delivery aspect of macrophage activation. Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in the body and has the capacity to regenerate during normal instances of strain or injury. However, this capacity for muscle generation is lost or impaired in cases of myopathic disease (i.e. multiple sclerosis, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy), aging, cardiovascular disease, and extreme injury.
Muscle regeneration is characterized by a precise choreography of immune cells that remove of apoptotic cells and driving proliferation of new one. In particular, monocytes are recruited to the site of injury in a subpopulation specific manner. Phagocytic, pro-inflammatory (M1) macrophages appearing in early stages followed by anti-inflammatory (M2) wound healing macrophages in late stages.Changes in this cascade can impact the outcome of muscle regeneration leading to chronic inflammation and scarring.Current muscle regeneration drug delivery studies are done using intramuscular injection of ex vivo activated macrophages, intramuscular injection of cytokines that stimulate macrophage activity, and the use of implantable biomaterials to control cell recruitment and drug release. However, with these models there is still a need to regulate the spatiotemporal recruitment and activation phenotype of macrophage.
Making sense of too much data
With hundreds of research papers published each day, synthesizing all of the available information for literature reviews has become increasingly difficult. Now, professors and librarians at Carnegie Mellon University are teaming up to find and teach unique techniques to uncover pertinent information for academic studies.
Wayne co-authors Nature commentary
In a new article published by Nature, Carnegie Mellon's Elizabeth Wayne and the University of Florida's Erika Moore, Josephine Allen and Connie Mulligan, argue the need to consider ancestry in cell samples for medical research because ancestral differences are present in many diseases.
Wayne awarded NIH R35 grant for macrophage polarization research
Assistant Professor Elizabeth Wayne has been awarded an NIH R35 grant, otherwise known as the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA), providing her lab with the resources needed to develop bioluminescence microscopy technology to measure macrophage polarization.
Student spotlight: Dasia Aldarondo
During a high school summer camp, Dasia Aldarondo fell in love with the campus, environment, and research opportunities at Carnegie Mellon University. Today, she is a 3rd year Ph.D. student and a GEMS Fellow, developing targeted nanoparticles to terminate disease-causing genes.
Celebrating Black in Microbiology Week
Chemical Engineering’s Kishana Taylor is hosting the first Black in Microbiology week, a unique program that aims to highlight Black scientists and their contributions to the field of microbiology.
A new perspective in the fight against COVID-19
Elizabeth Wayne has received funding through the NSF RAPID program to study an often-ignored cellular factor in the mortality rate of COVID-19.
College of Engineering announces Catalyst 2020 winners
The College of Engineering is pleased to announce that the College will fund three Catalyst proposals as winners of the Catalyst 2020 competition.
Wayne featured on PBS News Hour’s Brief but Spectacular
ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne was featured on PBS News Hour’s Brief but Spectacular about the importance of representation and being a role model.
Elizabeth Wayne joins ChemE/BME faculty
Beginning in Fall 2019, Dr. Elizabeth Wayne will be joining the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University as an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.
Wayne quoted in The Atlantic on cancer treatment
On a panel at Aspen Ideas: Health, BME/ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne pointed out that many current cancer treatments were derived from things originally intended to kill people.
Wayne featured in Nature
ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne was featured in a Nature Career Feature article on overcoming social and financial obstacles in science and engineering.
Wayne gives TED talk
ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne gave a TED talk about how to hack our immune cells to fight cancer.
- Valantine H, Travis, E, El-Adhami W, Vernos I, Mosqueda L, Wayne EC et al. A giant leap for womankind. Nat Med 25, 704–707 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0446-y
- Wayne EC, Long C, Li Y, Leisner T, Parise L, Batrakova E, Kabanov AV. Delivery of therapeutic siRNA nanocomplexes to breast cancer using macrophages as vehicles. (2019) Advanced Science. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/advs.201900582
- Vinod N, Hwang D, Azam SH, Van Swearingen AED, Wayne EC, Fussell SC, Sokolsky-Papkov M, Pecot CV, Kabanov AV. High Capacity poly(2-oxazoline) formulation of TLRA 7/8 extends survival in chemo-insensitive, metastatic model of Lung Adenocarcinoma. Submitted. Bioxriv (2019). Science Translational Medicine. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2019.12.12.874198v1
- Crawford LA, Watkins HC, Wayne EC, Putnam D. Exploitation of P-glycoprotein Agonists to Retain Nanoparticles in the Brain Capillaries. (2019) Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40883-019-00111-8
- Wayne, EC, Chandrasekaran, S, Mitchell, MJ, Chan MF, Lee, RE, Schaffer, CB, & King, MR (2016). TRAIL-coated leukocytes that prevent the bloodborne metastasis of prostate cancer. Journal of Controlled Release. Journal of Controlled Release, 223, 215–223. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2015.12.048 Featured on Journal Cover. Citations: 21
- Mitchell MJ, Wayne EC, Rana K, Schaffer CB, King MR. (2014) TRAIL-Coated Leukocytes that Kill Cancer Cells in the Circulation. PNAS 111(3) 930–935, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1316312111 Citations: 103
- Rosenthal JA, Huang C-J, Doody AM, Leung T, Mineta K, Feng D, Wayne EC, Nozomi Nishimura, Cynthia Leifer, Matthew P. DeLisa, Susana Mendez, David Putnam. (2014) Mechanistic Insight into the TH1-Biased Immune Response to Recombinant Subunit Vaccines Delivered by Probiotic Bacteria-Derived Outer Membrane Vesicles. PLoS ONE 9(11): e112802. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112802 Citations: 26
- King MR, Mitchell MJ, Rana K, Wayne EC, Schaffer CB, Chandrasekaran S. Method to functionalize cells in human blood, other fluids and tissues using nanoparticles. (2016) Publication No. 2016-0184395.
Join our team
Want to join our team? We are looking for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows just like you! If you have questions please send an introductory email with a description of interest and a resume/CV to Elizabeth Wayne.