Research

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Enzyme-responsive dendritic amphiphiles

Stimuli-responsive nanocarriers have great potential as advanced drug delivery systems that can disassemble and release their cargo selectively at the site of disease. Among the various types of stimuli, enzymes offer great potential for the activation of biomedical carriers such as micelles due to their overexpression in various diseases. However, due to the poor accessibility of the activating enzymes to the core of the assemblies, the design of enzyme-responsive nanocarriers remains highly challenging. To address this challenge, we are developing highly modular enzyme-responsive dendritic amphiphiles, which can self-assemble into micellar nanocontainers that disassemble and release their encapsulated molecular cargo upon enzymatic activation. The ability to precisely adjust the structure of our dendritic amphiphiles opens the way for designing polymeric nanocarriers with highly tunable release rates.

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Spectrally active polymeric assemblies

Tracking polymeric nanocarriers in complex biological media is crucial for studying their interactions with biological barriers and targets. Utilizing the high molecular precision of our dendritic amphiphiles, we can label them with fluorescent dyes or magnetic resonance probes that allow the amphiphiles to spectrally report their disassembly. These spectrally active amphiphiles set the ground for the design of nanocarriers that can self-report their location and degree of activation. 

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Self-assembled polymeric nanoreactors

The ability to conduct organic reactions in water is essential for a broad spectrum of applications, ranging from green chemistry to the bioorthogonal activation of prodrugs. Utilizing our vast knowledge in the design of polymeric amphiphiles and their assemblies, we are designing highly modular self-assembled nanoreactors. The reactivity of these nano-reaction flasks can be precisely tuned by adjusting their amphiphilicity and loaded catalysts.