The Irvine laboratory works at the interface of materials science and immunology. Synthetic materials can be applied in two major ways to 'immunobioengineering': (1) Synthetic materials can modulate the function of immune cells by mimicking signals derived from the immune system or foreign pathogens, both as a probe for cell function and as a tool for immunotherapy— both in vitro and in vivo; (2) Synthetic materials can be used to create in vitro and in vivo models of the microenvironment present in lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, to better understand immunobiology in health and disease. To meet these goals, engineering must be married to an in-depth appreciation for the biology of these problems. Their laboratory is thus deeply interdisciplinary in every project. Key to their approach is a balanced emphasis on both the engineering and immunological aspects of the problems the Irvine group has chosen to address: In each of these projects, state of the art chemistry, polymer science, physics and immunology are combined to address critical biological questions and medical challenges.