Young Innovators in BME, Young Jik Kwon
Speaker: Young Jik Kwon, PhD, UC Irvine.
Acid-Degradable Polymeric Materials for Nucleic Acid Delivery, Combined Optical Imaging, Gene Therapy and Recovery of Proteins and Nucleic Acids.
Abstract: Nucleic acids (e.g., plasmid DNA, siRNA, etc.) modulate biological/pathological events at a molecular level and nucleic acid-based therapeutics can be logically designed based on target gene sequences. However, cells are not prone to take up and utilize these large and negatively charged macromolecules, which consequently necessitates the use of delivery carriers in order to overcome multiple extracellular and intracellular pathways. This talk will introduce and discuss design, synthesis, characterization, and performance of various novel polymeric nanomaterials that are responsive to an intracellular stimulus (i.e., mildly acidic pH), including 1) polymeric nanoparticles differentially degradable in the endosome, resulting in enhanced transfection via improved endosomal escape and targeted intracellular release/localization of their payloads, 2) highly versatile and efficient polymeric gene carriers that structurally and functionally mimic viral vectors, and 3) an emerging concept of achieving gene silencing that is triggered only upon generating multiple optical signal changes (i.e., nanotheragnostics). This talk will also briefly present an extended utility of the acid-degradable chemistry in addressing a fundamental limitation in recovering proteins and nucleic acids in their native forms, using degradable polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (D-PAGE). One of the immediate uses of this novel but simple D-PAGE technique would be investigating interactions between proteins and nucleic acids. This talk will demonstrate crucial roles of interdisciplinary approaches to tackling key challenges in medicine and biomedical research.