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Morpholinos: A Case for Synthetic DNA Mimics in Diagnostic...

  • Date
    Mon, Nov 25

    2:00 PM — 3:15 PM

    Steinman Hall
    Steinman Hall 160 - Lecture Hall

    Steinman Hall, 160 - Lecture Hall

    p: 212.650.5748


  • Event Details

    The ChE Department would like to welcome Rastislav Levicky from NYU-Poly

    Morpholinos: A Case for Synthetic DNA Mimics in Diagnostic Applications

    Fundamental and applied genomics often require analysis of the sequence composition of nucleic acid mixtures. This need can be addressed using surface hybridization methods, where the surface enables localization and parallel monitoring of a large number of arrayed hybridization reactions. Conventional surface hybridization platforms such as DNA microarrays must content with limitations stemming from the very high charge density and crowding effects associated with immobilized DNA films. Use of morpholino oligonucleotides, on the other hand, provides a synthetic, nonionic alternative to DNA-modified supports with a number of advantages stemming from their uncharged nature. These advantages include altered hybridization properties that allow, for example, tuning selectivity of interactions in favor of desired morpholino-DNA binding relative to formation of interfering secondary structure in the sample. Morpholinos also open up new prospects for sensitive label-free detection and for electric-field control over the hybridization reaction. This talk will present recent efforts to understand morpholino hybridization on solid supports and in solution, discuss fabrication of prototype morpholino microarrays for gene expression applications, and outline new diagnostic capabilities afforded by these unique materials. This research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health under award R01 HG004512.

    The Levicky group's primary research themes are development of methods for analysis of interactions between biologically-important molecules and advancement of basic understanding of biomolecular behavior at interfaces. Current research projects include studies of DNA organization on solid supports, use of synthetic DNA analogues in nucleic acid diagnostics, development of scalable methods for analysis of interactions between small molecules and nucleic acids, and between proteins and nucleic acids. They have strong interest in chemistries for biomodification of solid supports, in electrochemical and other methods for characterization of surfaces and thin films, and in approaches to manipulating small quantities of reagents.

    Prof. Levicky was an undergraduate at Columbia University in Chemical Engineering. He then pursued graduate studies, also in chemical engineering, at the University of Minnesota, finishing his doctorate in 1996 under the mentorship of Matthew Tirrell on the topic of neutron reflectivity studies of solvent effects in block copolymer thin films. Next he spent two years at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, as a postdoctoral associate investigating self-assembly and organization of DNA monolayers. In 1998, he joined the Chemical Engineering faculty at Columbia University, from where he moved to the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-POLY) in 2006, in the Othmer-Jacobs Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He has received the NSF Career award, distinguished faculty teaching awards both at Columbia and NYU-POLY, and most recently the Wechsler award for faculty excellence at NYU-POLY.