Current Research

Creating Chemically Diverse DNA-based Receptors for Biomedically Relevant Targets

Receptors are used extensively in biomedicine and chemical biology as diagnostic, imaging, targeted therapeutic, and drug delivery agents. Mimicking the guest-binding sites of natural receptors remains challenging, however, and there is an ongoing need for receptors that bind biomedically relevant guests. Existing receptors for these applications, including synthetic cages, antibodies, and aptamers, are limited by a lack of either chemical diversity or conformational flexibility and it is time consuming to generate large receptor libraries and individually test their binding efficacy to a target of interest. To mitigate these issues, we are currently developing a platform that will allow the simultaneous production and evaluation of up to 108 candidate artificial receptors. Each receptor will possess a chemically diverse, tunable guest binding pocket. This platform will be used to discover receptors to challenging small molecule and protein targets, including ones that are implicated in various disease states and cancers.