Using Nucleic Acids to Study Drug Delivery

Research Focus:

Samantha Wilner
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Samantha Wilner In targeted drug delivery, it’s crucial for medicine to get to specific parts of the body in order to work effectively, but many of these drugs are hydrophobic—they don’t like water—and, some drug delivery vehicles are excreted or fall apart before they reach their destination. “We’re engineering new delivery vehicles that can be used to combat this challenge,” Samantha Wilner says. By taking advantage of the chemical structure of nucleotides and the binding interactions that they have, Wilner is creating a more stable, dependable delivery method by joining nucleic acids and lipids together to form micelles. “We’re exploring different structural components and creating a library of different vehicles with tunable stability.”

“We’re answering fundamental questions about the types of delivery vehicles we can make. If we change specific structural components, how does it affect the delivery vehicle? That will lead us to developing applications of the technology.”