[Seminar] "Nucleic Acids Modifications and Polymer Hybrids for Nanobiotechnology" by Prof. Subha R. Das


Wednesday, October 25, 2023 - 14:00 to 15:00


C700, Lab3


Seminar title:  Nucleic Acids Modifications and Polymer Hybrids for Nanobiotechnology


Dr. Subha R. Das, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University


Research in the Das Lab at Carnegie Mellon focusses on chemical synthesis and modifications to DNA and RNA sequences and nucleic structures towards enhancing their stability and function in biological contexts. This talk will cover nucleic acid polymer conjugates and hybrids that are the result of combining synthetic and natural oligonucleotides or DNA and RNA molecules with synthetic polymers. Such hybrid systems capitalize on the sequence specificity, self-assembly, and natural activity of nucleic acids that are key to control over gene expression and regulation. By integrating synthetic polymeric compositions and architectures, these versatile conjugates and hybrids exhibit enhanced properties such as hyperstability and improved cell permeability. Nucleic acid conjugates and hybrids have yielded rich dividends in a variety of materials such as bright fluorescent nanotags for imaging applications and auto-transfecting RNA agents for cellular delivery and gene knockdowns. The use of DNA tethers with exosomes – nanosized extracellular vesicles – can provide surface modified exosomes and exosome-polymer hybrids as powerful new agents for targeted delivery in cells and organisms for cancer and immune therapies. The talk will cover recent developments in direct approaches to grafting polymers from DNA and RNA backbones and the resulting hybrid materials and gels. The talk will also briefly discuss education and teaching with the ‘Cloud Lab’, the world’s first academic remote-controlled automated chemistry and life sciences facility at CMU, for which Das is developing DNA based experiments to train new generations of scientists and collaborative tools for life science researchers.



Subha R. Das completed his PhD on the synthesis of nucleosides as antiviral and antibacterial agents followed by postdoctoral research on the molecular mechanisms of RNA based enzymes. Das is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University where he started his research lab in 2007. His research interests lie in the chemistry and modification of nucleic acids towards novel structures and function and their applications to biochemistry, nanobiotechnology and therapeutic delivery. Recently Das has begun developing and conducting simple DNA based experiments towards training students in the use of a remote-controlled and automated ‘Cloud Lab’ facility. Das has also created The Kitchen Chemistry Sessions courses that draw on advances in molecular gastronomy to teach chemistry and biochemistry through the real-world context of food, cooking and molecular cuisine.

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