We are a group of researchers working at the interface of chemistry and biology to understand the fundamentals of biomolecular interactions. Using simple chemical methods our aim is to develop molecular tools based on DNA aptamers, which eventually will have applications in biochemistry, cell biology, and biomedical research. Our laboratory is focused on two major areas:
- Investigation of novel SELEX technologies to select aptamers against biologically important cellular targets.
- Design and synthesis of novel multivalent, multifunctional aptamer scaffolds for biomedical applications. We are also interested in structure-activity relationship studies of monomeric and multimeric aptamers.
Nucleic Acid Aptamers
We are working with a special class of molecules called aptamers. Aptamers are short DNA/RNA sequences, which specifically bind to a target molecule with high affinity. Aptamer binding is based on the ability of DNA or RNA (typically 40-100mers) to fold into unique three-dimensional structures and their ability to interact with a binding epitope of the target molecule.
Ligand Guided Selection
We are interested in developing new aptamer screening technologies. Aptamers are selected using a combinatorial evolution process called Systematic Evolution Ligands by Exponential enrichment (SELEX). Our goal is to implement innovative screening technologies based on SELEX by exploiting basic principles of evolutionary selection. Through these new screening methods we aim to understand evolution of an aptamer library.
We draw inspiration from naturally occurring molecular scaffolds to engineer new molecules based on aptamers. These molecules are then used to tackle and understand cytolytic responses pertaining to the immune system.