Functional DNA Nanotechnology
Figure 1. DNA “codes” for nanomaterials.

We are interested in discovering “genetic codes” for nanomaterial shapes and surface properties (i.e., morphologies), as well as precise spatial and dynamic control over nanomaterials assembly.

In the process, we strive to understand the roles of functional DNA (i.e., DNAymes and aptamers) in controlling the synthesis and assembly of many different nanomaterials including gold nanoparticles, quantum dots, carbon nanotubes and nanodots, lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles, and supermagnatic iron oxide nanoparticles.

Armed with this knowledge, we are developing highly sensitive and selective sensors, imaging agents, and theranostic agents for early detection and treatment of toxic chemicals and diseases such as cancers.

For a general overview of this area, please see the following review articles:
Acc. Chem. Res. (2007), Acc. Chem. Res. (2014), J. Mater. Chem., and Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol.
Figure 2. Stimuli-responsive assembly of different nanomaterials directed by functional DNA and their biosensing applications.
Figure 3. Targeting effects of nucleolin DNA aptamer-functionalized liposomes against MCF-7 cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.

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