Donald E. Bergstrom
Walther Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Phone: +1 765-494-6275
B.S., Chemistry/U Washington/1965
Ph.D., Organic Chemistry/UC Berkeley/1970
Design and synthesis of modified nucleosides and nucleotides as biochemical probes; oligonucleotide derived diagnostics and therapeutics; anticancer-chemotherapeutic drug development; antiviral agent design and synthesis; intracellular target-mediated drug assembly; applications of nucleic acids analogues in nanotechnology; carbon nanotube nucleic acid interactions.
Research Impact Statement:
Our research is directed towards the construction of modified nucleic acids for use as biochemical tools, diagnostic probes, and therapeutics. This research requires the design and synthesis of nucleic acid components and their integration into namomaterials and nanodevices. We design and construct nucleosides, linker molecules and modified peptide nucleic acids, that can be attached to silicon nanowires. This provides a means for the highly sensitive electronic detection of biological molecules for early diagnosis of cancer. In addition, we are studying therapeutic nucleic acid analogues designed to be rapidly taken up by cancer cells.
Working with Professor Ashraf Alam (School of Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Rashid Bashir (UI) we are developing nanowires for quantifying microRNAs and proteins overexpressed in cancer. In addition, we are building peptide nucleic acid PNA derived nanoparticles as components of cancer therapeutic agents with Professor James Leary (Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering). Carbon nanotubes have been shown to function as water-soluble carriers for biological molecules. These are taken up into cells and have been proposed as cell-targeting therapeutic-delivery platforms. In collaboration with Professors Ron Reifenberger (Physics) and David Riese (Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology), we have prepared DNA conjugated single wall carbon nanotubes and are studying the potential of these as siRNA carriers specific for EGF receptor, which is over-expressed in cancer cells.