At the core of their efforts is an appreciation for the mechanisms of chemical reactivity and the power of molecular biology to create useful tools for chemists, chemical biologists, and materials scientists. A good example is the modification of virus particles into agents for binding particular cells, catalyzing chemical reactions, and eliciting disease-fighting responses from the immune system. Another is the development of small molecules that fragment over time periods that can be varied from minutes to months, allowing the Finn lab to create materials that release drugs in the body at any desired rate.
Experts in the reliable formation of chemical bonds to a wide variety of materials, the Finn group also imbues surfaces and polymers with functions like antimicrobial activity, adhesion, and molecular filtration. They also employ combinatorial chemistry and techniques of biological evolution to make functional molecules in new ways.
- Drug delivery and materials: Reversible chemical bond formation for delivery of therapeutic and diagnostic agents to biological targets as well as polymer synthesis and modification
- Immunology: Vaccine development against bacterial, viral, and parasitic pathogens with a focus on carbohydrate antigens; diagnostic antibody development against viruses and drugs of abuse; new adjuvants and antigen delivery methods
- Biological compounds: Synthesizing biologically active compounds into treatments for viruses, tobacco addiction, and inflammatory disease
- Chemistry: Oxanorbornadienes for drug delivery and materials, complex carbohydrate synthesis, and general small molecule syntheses
- Materials development and modification: PVC medical tubing, bicyclo[3.3.1]nonane (BCN) polymers, microporous polymers, hydrogels, and polyvalent catalysis
- Chemical biology: Virus-like particle design, modification, and evolution; packaged enzymes and fluorescent proteins; cell targeting
- Immunology: Glycoconjugate vaccine development, cancer vaccine development, immunogenic virus-like particle platforms
- Chair, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Tech
- James A. Carlos Family Chair for Pediatric Technology, Georgia Tech
- Chief Scientific Officer, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center
- Editor-in-Chief, ACS Combinatorial Science