Welcome to the McHugh Lab in the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University.

Our research focuses on developing drug delivery platforms and engineering tissues using customized polymers and advanced fabrication methods such as multi-photon 3D printing. We leverage the well-characterized behavior of our materials and high spatial control of nanoscale fabrication techniques to rationally design systems with highly predictable behavior. Because our work is highly translational in nature, we seek not only to create technologies that improve patient outcomes, but also ensure that they are feasible to implement clinically.

Although our constructs are engineered to be broadly applicable, we are particularly interested in:


  • Modulating the immune response through spatiotemporal control of proteins and adjuvants
  • Using controlled release to improve cancer immunotherapy response rates
  • Developing single-injection vaccines for the developing world
  • Developing new fabrication methods that are compatible with biologics
  • Creating devices that exhibit prolonged, zero-order release

Rice University's Academic Quad

The Lab

Microneedles fabricated using nanoscale 3D printing

Pulsatile-release microparticles fabricated using the SEAL method

Lab logo made with a peptide cross-linked PEG hydrogel

September 16, 2020 – The laboratory welcomes bioengineering Masters students Sherry Yue Qiu and Dhruv Varshney.

August 12, 2020 – Congratulations to Tyler Graf for being published on the cover of Science Translational Medicine!

March 31, 2020 – Congratulations to lab member Brett Pogostin for being awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

December 3, 2019 – The laboratory welcomes bioengineering graduate students Tyler Graf, Marina Yu, Mei-Li Laracuente, and Brett Pogostin.