Sam Lai was born in Hong Kong and spent his childhood in both Hong Kong and Vancouver. After completing high school at Phillips Academy, Andover, he attended Cornell University and received his BS in chemical and biomolecular engineering in 2003. He then undertook doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University, receiving his PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering in 2007. Following a one-year postdoc, he became a research assistant professor at Johns Hopkins in fall 2008 before joining the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in fall 2010. Lai’s previous research focused on nanoparticle-based delivery of bioactive molecules to mucosal tissues. He helped pioneer the development of mucus-penetrating particle technology, a breakthrough that formed the basis of Kala Pharmaceuticals, launched in 2009 based on funding from a syndicate of leading VC firms. Lai remains an adviser to Kala.
Industry Expertise (3)
Areas of Expertise (5)
Johns Hopkins University: PhD, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 2007
Cornell University: BS, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 2003
Media Appearances (1)
Pharmacy researchers show vaginal mucus may prevent HIV
The Daily Tar Heel online
A new study, led by UNC Pharmacy Professor Dr. Sam Lai, offers new prospects for protecting women from HIV. The key to this new discovery — a bacteria present in the cervical vaginal mucus of certain women. “The HIV was either highly mobile or effectively trapped. It was two extremes.” Lai said when the research team tried to find a connection between the samples and their ability to block HIV, they could not find a clear correlation.
ABSTRACT: Eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAb) in cervicovaginal mucus (CVM) represents a promising “first line of defense” strategy to reduce vaginal HIV transmission. However, it remains unclear what levels of bnAb must be present in CVM to effectively reduce infection...
ABSTRACT: Coating nanoparticles with polyethylene glycol (PEG), which reduces particle uptake and clearance by immune cells, is routinely used to extend the circulation times of nanoparticle therapeutics...
ABSTRACT: Mucus is a viscoelastic and adhesive gel that protects the lung airways, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, vagina, eye and other mucosal surfaces. Most foreign particulates, including conventional particle-based drug delivery systems, are efficiently trapped in human mucus ...
ABSTRACT: Mucus is a complex biological material that lubricates and protects the human lungs, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, vagina, eyes, and other moist mucosal surfaces. Mucus serves as a physical barrier against foreign particles, including toxins, pathogens, and ...
ABSTRACT: Nanoparticles larger than the reported mesh-pore size range (10–200 nm) in mucus have been thought to be much too large to undergo rapid diffusional transport through mucus barriers. However, large nanoparticles are preferred for higher drug ...