Dr. Soumitra Basu

1. Small Interfering RNA (siRNA) Nanoparticle as Anti-Cancer Therapeutics

The goal of this project is to design and test a cancer cell targeted RNA/DNA nanoparticle complex as an anti-cancer therapeutics. The REU student will own the project and will be trained in biochemical, biophysical, molecular biology and cell biology techniques.

Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are 20-25nt sequences that can specifically reduce the expression of a targeted gene. Some of the siRNAs have progressed from preclinical research to clinical trials (a majority being anti-cancer therapeutics). For all the positives, siRNAs still suffers from lack of stability and poor cellular uptake, which creates a challenge in harnessing its full potential as a therapeutic agent. To offset these, different multicomponent nanoparticle complexes will be prepared to deliver the siRNA to breast cancer cells. The cellular uptake and efficacy of the nano complexes will be tested in breast cancer cells.

2. A Novel Non-coding RNA to Sensitize the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells to Chemotherapy

Recently a novel class of non-coding RNA has been discovered. Bioinformatics analysis predict that humans have about 50000 thousand of such RNA. The goal is to use this class of RNA for therapeutic purposes. An RNA designed to target ferritin mRNA will be used to treat triple negative breast cancer cells, which is a super aggressive cancer cell line. The RNA treated cells will presumably become more sensitive to chemotherapy agents and thus will be treated with a common anti-cancer agent doxorubicin. Cell growth as a function of the treatment will be measured using an MTS assay. Student will use biochemical, molecular biology and cell biology (human tissue culture) techniques to achieve the research objectives.