James Moon

James Moon, Ph.D.

John Gideon Searle Associate Professor
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Department of Biomedical Engineering
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Dr. Moon received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley (2002), and his Ph.D. from Rice University (2008), and he completed his postdoctoral training at MIT (HHMI). Dr. James Moon is John Gideon Searle Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Moon is also a member of the Biointerfaces Institute and the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. His translational research program aims to develop novel engineering tools for improving vaccines and immunotherapies. He has received numerous awards, including 2016 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2016 DOD-CDMRP Career Development Award, 2015 Melanoma Research Alliance Young Investigator Award, the 2012 NIAID Research Scholar Development Award, and the 2011 IEEE- EMBS Harvard Wyss Institute Award for Translational Research.

Research Interests

"Translational research at the interface of immunology and engineering"

We are interested in the development of therapeutics at the interface of immunology and engineering. Specifically, we are working on drug delivery systems for enhancing delivery of antigen and adjuvant to lymphoid organs and manipulating immune functions in the context of cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmunity. Our focus is on translational research using nanotechnology, biomaterials, drug delivery, cell and tissue engineering to detect and improve immune responses in vivo. The first thrust in the lab focuses on the development of novel strategies for cancer immunotherapy. We are developing new nano-vaccines designed for efficient delivery of tumor antigens to lymphoid tissues will generate potent anti-tumor T-cell immunity with strong therapeutic efficacy. We have recently reported our initial success in murine models of colon carcinoma and melanoma (Kuai et al. Nature Materials, 2016). The second thrust in the lab focuses on the development of drug delivery platforms for mucosal immunization against infectious pathogens. Mucosal tissues are the major site of pathogen entry and initial infection for many infectious microbes, such as HIV. However, little is known about vaccination strategies to induce effective mucosal immune responses. In particular, we have previously developed a new vaccine nanoparticle system, called interbilayer-crosslinked multilamellar vesicles (ICMVs). These serum-stable nanoparticles significantly enhanced antigen delivery to lymph nodes in vivo, leading to elicitation of robust cellular and humoral immune responses against subunit antigens derived from infectious pathogens, including HIV (Moon et al., Nat Mat 2011, Moon et al., PNAS 2012, Li, Moon, et al., Sci Transl Med 2013). We are currently exploiting the potent immune responses induced by our ICMV vaccine technology to allow manipulation of local tissue microenvironment and induce cellular and humoral immunity against HIV in mucosal tissues. Overall, our translational work has also led to 8 U.S. patent applications as well as two new startup biotech companies, Vedantra Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, MA) and EVOQ Therapeutics (Ann Arbor, MI) that focus on clinical translation of our novel vaccine technologies.



Kuai R, Ochyl LJ, Bahjat KS, Schwendeman A, Moon JJ. Designer vaccine nanodiscs for personalized cancer immunotherapy. Nat Mater. 2016 Dec 26. doi:10.1038/nmat4822. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28024156.

Fan Y, Moon JJ. Particulate delivery systems for vaccination against bioterrorism agents and emerging infectious pathogens. Wiley Interdiscip Rev. Nanomed Nanobiotechnol. 2017 Jan;9(1). doi: 10.1002/wnan.1403. Review. PubMed PMID: 27038091; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5045734.

Kuai R, Li D, Chen YE, Moon JJ, Schwendeman A. High-Density Lipoproteins: Nature's Multifunctional Nanoparticles. ACS Nano. 2016 Mar 22;10(3):3015-41. doi:10.1021/acsnano.5b07522. Review. PubMed PMID: 26889958; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4918468.

Fan Y, Moon JJ. Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Systems Designed to Improve Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy. Vaccines (Basel). 2015 Aug 27;3(3):662-85. doi: 10.3390/vaccines3030662. Review. PubMed PMID: 26350600; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4586472.

Fan Y, Sahdev P, Ochyl LJ, J Akerberg J, Moon JJ. Cationic liposome-hyaluronic acid hybrid nanoparticles for intranasal vaccination with subunit antigens. J Control Release. 2015 Jun 28;208:121-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2015.04.010. PubMed PMID: 25869965; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4430437

Sahdev P, Ochyl LJ, Moon JJ. Biomaterials for nanoparticle vaccine delivery systems. Pharm Res. 2014 Oct;31(10):2563-82. doi: 10.1007/s11095-014-1419-y. Review. PubMed PMID: 24848341; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4198431.

Li AV, Moon JJ, Abraham W, Suh H, Elkhader J, Seidman MA, Yen M, Im EJ, Foley MH, Barouch DH, Irvine DJ. Generation of effector memory T cell-based mucosal and systemic immunity with pulmonary nanoparticle vaccination. Sci Transl Med. 2013 Sep 25;5(204):204ra130. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3006516. PubMed PMID: 24068737; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3934930.

Moon JJ, Huang B, Irvine DJ. Engineering nano- and microparticles to tune immunity. Adv Mater. 2012 Jul 24;24(28):3724-46. doi: 10.1002/adma.201200446. Review. PubMed PMID: 22641380; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3786137.

Moon JJ, Suh H, Li AV, Ockenhouse CF, Yadava A, Irvine DJ. Enhancing humoral responses to a malaria antigen with nanoparticle vaccines that expand Tfh cells and promote germinal center induction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jan 24;109(4):1080-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1112648109. PubMed PMID: 22247289; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3268296.

Moon JJ, Suh H, Bershteyn A, Stephan MT, Liu H, Huang B, Sohail M, Luo S, Um SH, Khant H, Goodwin JT, Ramos J, Chiu W, Irvine DJ. Interbilayer-crosslinked multilamellar vesicles as synthetic vaccines for potent humoral and cellular immune responses. Nat Mater. 2011 Mar;10(3):243-51. doi: 10.1038/nmat2960. PubMed PMID: 21336265; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3077947.

Stephan MT, Moon JJ, Um SH, Bershteyn A, Irvine DJ. Therapeutic cell engineering with surface-conjugated synthetic nanoparticles. Nat Med. 2010 Sep;16(9):1035-41. doi: 10.1038/nm.2198. PubMed PMID: 20711198; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2935928.