Single-molecule analytics of RNA/DNA drug constructs interacting with RNA targets and with lipid nanoparticle delivery vehicles
In this project, the interns will develop a new set of tools and techniques to provide new scientific insights into the detailed interactions that occur between drug and target molecules in the human body. Understanding of these interactions is critical to design better, more effective, and more precisely targeted drugs. The problem is that current techniques for investigating molecular interactions make “ensemble measurements” over huge numbers of drug and target molecules and give researchers only an “average” measurement of the interactions. But this average measurement misses many important details of how one individual drug molecule interacts with one individual target molecule, and as drugs become increasingly sophisticated these “single-molecule” insights become critical. The interns will apply a new single-molecule microscopy technique being developed by the Canadian startup ScopeSys to investigate two new kinds of drugs: antisense oligonucleotide drugs, which are constructed from DNA and which target RNA, and nanoparticles, which are nanometer-sized particles that can be used to carry potent drug formulations through the human body.