Summary: My research team focuses on the development of designer nucleic acids for applications in medicinal chemistry (e.g., knockdown of genes involved in diseases), diagnostics (e.g., detection of single nucleotide mutations causing diseases), and material science (e.g., development of nanomaterials-based biosensors and drug delivery platforms).

Minimum Classes: Chem 277/372 and Organic Chemistry I and II.

Projects: Synthesis of Invader Nucleic Acids for targeting of double stranded DNA – we have designed a novel type of nucleic acids that bind efficiently to double stranded DNA, and which have the potential to influence expression of disease-related genes. In this project you could be working on a) chemical synthesis of new Invader building blocks (setting up moisture-sensitive reactions; characterization of compounds via NMR and MS), b) their incorporation into short DNA strands using automated DNA-synthesizers (solid-phase chemistry, HPLC purification, MS-characterization), c) biophysical characterization of Invader nucleic acids (e.g., determine strength of hybridization with DNA by UV/fluorescence spectroscopy; ability to target structured DNA using gel electrophoresis), and/or d) characterize binding to dsDNA in plasmids and cell cultures. Other potential projects include development of RNA-targeting nucleic acids and biosensors (similar techniques would be encountered as described above).

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