Design of ssDNA-Amphiphiles for Targeted Delivery of Therapeutics

Efie Kokkoli
University of Minnesota
Thursday, February 11, 2016
The Edge Workshop Room - Duke University | 11:00am

Efie Kokkoli

Self-assembly of biological molecules is an attractive method for engineering supramolecular biomaterials for different applications. In my group we focus on the design and characterization of amphiphilic molecules that have the tendency to self-assemble spontaneously in different structures in water. I will discuss our efforts to target a novel molecule called fractalkine with amphiphilic nanomaterials. Fractalkine bears potential for novel therapeutics due to its unique structure and its central role in certain human diseases such as inflammation and cancer. Currently, no therapeutics targeting fractalkine exist. We have recently developed an aptamer (ssDNA that has affinity and specificity for the target of choice) that binds to fractalkine, and formed micelles out of aptamer-amphiphiles. Our work shows that we can successfully target fractalkine with our ssDNA micelles, therefore providing opportunities to use fractalkine as a molecular target in different diseases. Finally, I will discuss how we design our ssDNA-amphiphiles so that depending on the building blocks used for their design they can self-assemble into supramolecular nanostructures with non-spherical geometries, such as DNA nanotubes, which is an area of great interest in DNA nanotechnology with many technological and biomedical applications.