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In addition to its annual lectures, ChBE hosts a weekly seminar throughout the year with invited lecturers who are prominent in their fields. Unless otherwise noted, all seminars are held on Wednesdays in the Molecular Science and Engineering Building ("M" Building) in G011 (Cherry Logan Emerson Lecture Theater) at 4:00 p.m. Refreshments are served at 3:30 p.m. in the Emerson-Lewis Reception Salon.
The targeted delivery of therapeutic and diagnostic agents has recently become one of the most active areas of research in the rapidly developing field of nanomedicine. Unprecedented advances in synthetic polymer chemistry over the last decade now allow for precise control of macromolecular structure and thus rational design of biologically-relevant carriers with functional components engineered to aid in stabilization, trafficking and stimulus-induced release of “packaged” therapeutic agents. This presentation will focus exclusively on synthetic (co)polymers and their conjugates prepared via the controlled radical polymerization technique RAFT and its aqueous counterpart, αRAFT. Rational design of controlled-delivery vehicles for such systems must consider solubility, architecture, hydrodynamic dimensions, and pendent functionality for facile conjugation to targeting and diagnostic moieties. Recent work in our research laboratories regarding αRAFT and RAFT polymerization of functional monomers and facile “click” like chemistry to afford well-defined, water-soluble nanocarriers will be discussed. For example, criteria for efficient delivery and efficient gene “knockdown” through the RNA interference (RNAi) are presented, based on current understanding of cellular delivery pathways. Emphasis is placed on synthetic carrier structures and features of controllable segments which lend themselves to polyplex formation, siRNA packaging, targeting, uptake, endosomal escape and delivery to messenger RNA (mRNA) targets.