Research in the Giorgio laboratory is motivated by the quantitative understanding of complex living systems at increasingly refined spatial and temporal scales. The primary focus of this activity has been in addressing critical problems in understanding and treating cancer. Our laboratory applies novel engineering and science approaches to the study of metastases, recurrence and immunity. We have developed a number of new nanoscale materials with biosensing surfaces, including ‘smart’ micelles that deliver functional siRNA to macrophages or use switchable surface charge for tissue localization, retention and controlled release of siRNA. The objective has been to harness the enormous power of cancer immunomodulation, avoiding the systemic responses that otherwise limit such approaches. These immunomodulatory nanomaterials have been designed for local or systemic administration and have demonstrated effectiveness in vivo. Overall, our laboratory combines cancer biology and immunology expertise with quantitative engineering approaches for the design, development and assessment of novel biomaterials for use in living systems.