Effective Drug Delivery Vehicles Exhibiting Specific Deformation Programmability
The synthetic technique of DNA origami, involving a single scaffold strand being folded into arbitrary shapes through the attachment of smaller staple strands to various locations along its sequence, has provided a powerfully programmable framework for the spatial design of nanostructures. Our research has involved adding an additional layer of programmability to these constructs, the ability to respond to external stimuli viz. electromagnetic radiation and pH by means of conformational changes. In particular we are exploring how these stimuli stabilize/destabilize linkers in the DNA origami so as to cause the structure to collapse and expand; thereby dramatically enhancing the utility of DNA nanostructures in controlled particle release. An immediately apparent application for such a technology is the precise delivery of drugs at certain targets as a result of stimulated release.
- Aliya Dincer
- Maria Elena Martinez
- Michael Hernandez
Graduate Student Mentors
- Matthew Adendorff
- Ishan Gupta
- Professor Mark Bathe
- CanDo - 
CanDo is a code, developed by LCBB at MIT, that applies a finite-element-based modeling framework for DNA with single base-pair resolution. The output from the code is a computational prediction of single- and multi-layer DNA origami structures, including their mean deformed 3D conformation and conformational flexibility.
- NUPACK - 
NUPACK is a software suite, developed by the Pierce Lab at CalTech, that focuses on the design and energetics of nucleic acid systems.
- caDNAno - 
caDNAno is software for design of three-dimensional DNA origami nanostructures. It was written with the goal of providing a simple and user-friendly interface to facilitate a process that can be complex and error-prone.
- CHIMERA - 
UCSF Chimera is a highly extensible program for interactive visualization and analysis of molecular structures and related data, including density maps, supramolecular assemblies, sequence alignments, docking results, trajectories, and conformational ensembles. This program is utilized for the visualization of CanDo output files.
- VirtualBox - 
VirtualBox is an operating system emulator that allows you to run guest operating systems, e.g. Linux and Windows, within your host system. As most of the scripts being developed in our group utilize opensource codes/software and are themselves coded with a Unix environment in mind, setting up a Linux system would be useful.
- Maya - 
Maya is a very powerful suite of design software from Computer Aided Design (CAD) giant AutoDesk. Normally this software costs a small fortune, however as MIT students all you need to do is follow the links to register and you can get a licence for 13 months. Do it...any self respecting engineer should get up to speed with these kinds of design tools and this is a terrific opportunity to do so!
- General Interest
- News story on the MIT webpage about work currently being done in the LCBB on DNA Origami -