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Harvard Medical School - Building C - Cannon Room and Zoom
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Therapeutic applications of DNA origami-based programmable nanoparticles

DNA origami utilizes the complementary Watson and Crick base pairing of DNA to self-assemble highly programmable nanoparticles. These nanoparticles have distinct advantages over other nanoparticle delivery platforms, including polymeric and lipid nanoparticles, in that they offer precise nanoscale resolution control over the attachment of therapeutic cargo, while other nanoparticle platforms only offer control over average ligand density. In this thesis, we demonstrate the therapeutic utility of DNA origami for cancer and infectious diseases. First, we demonstrate that modulating the nanoscale arrangement of an adjuvant enhances the efficacy of cancer vaccines. Second, we demonstrate that this DNA origami nanoparticle can be used as a modular delivery vehicle for infectious disease associated antigens, enabling rapid response during pandemic situations. Third, we demonstrate the conjugation of CD40 ligand, an immune-activating molecule, onto the DNA origami nanoparticle, and describe initial investigations into the diverse spatial arrangements of CD40L and preliminary effects on the immune response. Collectively, these studies illustrate the potential of DNA origami as a therapeutic for various disease areas, as well as its potential as a tool for investigating biological receptor-ligand interactions.

Thesis Supervisor:
William M. Shih, PhD
Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School; Professor, Department of Cancer Biology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Core Faculty, Wyss Institute for Biological Engineering

Thesis Committee Chair:
Daniel G. Anderson, PhD
Professor, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, MIT; Joseph R. Mares Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT; Member, Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine; Associate Member; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Associate Member, Ragon Institute at MGH, MIT and Harvard

Thesis Readers:
Catherine J. Wu, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Chief, Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapies, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Lavine Family Chair for Preventative Cancer Therapies, Dana Farber Cancer Institute

David J. Mooney, PhD
Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Core Faculty, Wyss Institute for Biological Engineering


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Olivia Jane Young is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Olivia Jane Young Thesis Defense
Time: Monday, February 12, 2024, 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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