HomepageBiologyDr. Samantha Wilner and student co-authors are published in the Journal Biomacromolecules

Wilner and student co-authors are published in the Journal Biomacromolecules

Dr. Samantha Wilner and student co-authors published “Aptamer-Targeted Dendrimersomes Assembled from Azido-Modified Janus Dendrimers “Clicked” to DNA.”

Dr. Samantha Wilner joined the Ursinus College Chemistry Department and Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) in 2018. She teaches a range of courses in both the Chemistry and BCMB curricula. Before joining the Ursinus community, Dr. Wilner received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Columbia University. After spending time employed as a laboratory technician, she later went on to receive a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences (biochemistry) from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. At Ursinus, Dr. Wilner serves as the faculty advisor for the Women in Technology and Stem Club (WiTS). This group focuses on engaging with women and underrepresented groups in the STEM field. In this position, Dr. Wilner hopes to help grow the club to reach more students.

In the chemistry department, Dr. Wilner runs a lab of about six undergraduate students. Dr. Wilner shares that her work focuses on “the design and synthesis of amphipathic DNA molecules for use in drug delivery applications. Molecules that are amphipathic have both hydrophobic and hydrophilic components. In our case, the hydrophilic portion of the molecule is made from DNA and the hydrophobic portion is either a lipid or dendrimer. We use these molecules to assemble nanoparticles, which we characterize using various biophysical techniques, and then assess their ability to interact with cells and potentially deliver therapeutic cargo.”

Dr. Samantha Wilner Wilner Lab

Dr. Wilner, along with former and current students of her lab, have recently published a paper titled, “Aptamer-Targeted Dendrimersomes Assembled from Azido-Modified Janus Dendrimers “Clicked” to DNA”. Two current students in her lab are co-authors on the paper, Kyle Shantz (Class of 2024) and Zoe Moosbrugger (Class of 2024). Ursinus’s ability to allow students access to research labs has made it possible for students to be published scientists before receiving a bachelor’s degree. Zoe will be travelling with Dr. Wilner to San Antonio in a few weeks to present their work at the national conference of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

One of the goal’s Dr. Wilner had coming to Ursinus was to “engage undergraduates in research to prepare them for their future careers and to make biochemistry accessible and fun.” Getting involved with research on campus is within any current or incoming students’ grasp, and Dr. Wilner’s lab is another prime example of this. Looking to the future, Dr. Wilner and her students hope to show that the “amphipathic DNA molecules that [they] make in the lab can serve as important tools in drug delivery.”

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