Pannier Lab

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Engineering Intracellular Signaling Pathways for Nonviral Gene Delivery

Gina Boanca  

Gene delivery approaches provide a mechanism to directly alter gene expression within a cell population. While viral gene delivery is very efficient, problems with strong immune responses and significant toxicity have led to searches for alternative approaches.

Nonviral vectors, while much less efficient than viral vectors, have low toxicity and immunogenicity, lack pathogenicity, and are easily produced with greater control and flexibility, making these vectors attractive alternatives to viruses. While some studies have investigated trafficking pathways of nonviral DNA vectors within the cell, there have been few efforts to understand or engineer the molecular signaling pathways that dictate the efficacy of gene transfer.

We are identifying the intracellular signaling pathways modulated during successful nonviral gene transfer using microarray analysis, as well as determining the contribution of key signaling pathways regulated in intracellular trafficking of nonviral complexes. By studying and then engineering the intracellular signaling pathways of the cells, we aim to make them more responsive to DNA transfer, and seek to apply these approaches to gene therapy and other applications like gene chips and tissue engineering matrices.


Engineering the Cell Microenvironment

Novel Biomaterials

Single Cell Imaging