Noel Ferraro of the Pires Research Group

Graduate student Noel Ferraro will present 

"Progression of DNA Aptamers to Improved Application"

on April 10, 2018 at 4:10 PM in Neville Hall, Room 3.



In recent years, DNA aptamers have shown great potential to become a front running selection method in comparison to other methods such as phase display, one-bead-one-compound, and antibodies. DNA aptamers are made up of short single stranded DNA sequences that can non-covalently bind, with high specificity and affinity, to a target by taking on the appropriate secondary structure. The benefit to using DNA aptamers is that they can be produced on a larger scale, have a longer shelf life, and can be more stable over a wider range of conditions. This allows them to be used as drugs, diagnostic tools, biosensors, in bio-imaging, or in a more therapeutic role by delivering nanoparticles, antibodies, and other drugs or small molecules to specific sites, such as infections or tumors.  This seminar will provide insight on how DNA aptamers are being progressed to improve their application. Three reports will be included that:

(1) describe how diversely functionalized nucleotides can be used in DNA aptamers without losing function and may yield DNA aptamers with more functions than already exist when using just the four normal base pairs.
(2) describe the design of a cyclized DNA aptamer. The cyclization is done in an attempt to increase the aptamers stability which in turn will increase its protection against nucleases. This simple strategy may be useful in boosting the in vivo application of DNA aptamers. 
(3) feature a DNA aptamer nanoparticle that shows increased stability in biological fluids and longer blood circulation times when compared to free aptamers. This study depicts the greater potential DNA aptamers have in regards to therapeutic applications.
  1. Kong, D., Yeung, W., & Hili, R. (2017). In Vitro Selection of Diversely Functionalized Aptamers. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139(40), 13977-13980.
  2. Kuai, H., Zhao, Z., Mo, L., Liu, H., Hu, X., & Fu, T. et al. (2017). Circular Bivalent Aptamers Enable in Vivo Stability and Recognition. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139(27), 9128-9131.
  3. Roloff, A., Carlini, A., Callmann, C., & Gianneschi, N. (2017). Micellar Thrombin-Binding Aptamers:Reversible Nanoscale Anticoagulants. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139(46), 16442-16445.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Noel Ferraro